I noted that fans on Twitter have come to assume Chris Davis is using steroids every time he hits a homer but now we have a well-known sportswriter — Rick Telander of the Chicago Sun-Times — doing it too. Oh, he couches it in the “hey, maybe he’s clean, we just don’t know!” language all of these guys have come to use, but make no mistake: Rick Telander is accusing Chris Davis of using steroids:
People might wonder what the fallout from the baseball’s Steroid Era is.
Try this: Amazing Orioles slugger Chris Davis (in town to play the White Sox) is on pace to hit 61 home runs — Roger Maris’ golden number — and what he gets as a reception instead of cheery anticipation is a lot of raised eyebrows. The first thing that goes through any informed fan’s mind when he or she sees a 6-3, 230-pound muscleman come from almost nowhere and suddenly start ringing the home-run bell is steroids.
He throws in some casual speculation of Miguel Cabrera too. Then he notes that Davis has had a three-month span of homers which is similar to one Rafael Palmeiro once had and stings it with “Palmeiro? Yep, a previously disgraced ’roider.”
Once again it’s worth reminding ourselves that when a blogger said stuff nowhere near as pointed as this a few years ago he was excoriated by the national professional sporting press. Now guys like Telander do it every time a slugger who was not previously thought of as A-list hits some homers and no one cares. Jose Bautista got this treatment a couple of years ago. Davis is getting it now. And these hacks continue to sit there and act like they have earned the right to be gatekeepers of the sport we love. Like they’re some esteemed authority whose judgment should be presumed to be sound.
Baloney. You don’t have to assume Chris Davis is taking some banned substance. You can watch him play well and enjoy it. You really can. If something comes up later, welp, it comes up later and we can reassess what we think about Chris Davis’ accomplishments. But to simply assume like Telander does that everyone who plays this game well must be a cheater is misery personified.
(link via BleedCubbieBlue)
MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch reports that Cardinals’ shortstop Aledmys Diaz has been sporting a new look around Busch Stadium with a pair of “strobe glasses,” technology-enhanced specs designed to help athletes focus on the ball. Like a strobe light, the lenses of these glasses affect a player’s vision by rapidly changing opacity, giving its wearers the illusion that the objects they see are moving more slowly than normal. Once a player adjusts to the new speed of play, they gain a greater sense of control and are able to time their actions with more precision.
Diaz isn’t the first MLB player to utilize the technology, just the first Cardinals’ player to do so. It’s been tested by Bryce Harper, Corey Brown, Tommy Joseph, Austin Hedges and Joe Mauer, among others around the league, and has been used for everything from refining a catcher’s reflexes behind the plate to tweaking a hitter’s ability to track a pitch. Per Langosch, Diaz has been using the glasses to hone in on the ball during pregame drills, increasing both his confidence and response time on the field and improving his defense at short.
The shortstop has been the focus of some concern this season after seeing a sizable dip in his production at the plate, and his five fielding errors, 0.6 UZR and 0.6 fWAR haven’t helped matters, either. He sustained a minor thumb injury during an at-bat on Friday night, and was left off of the Cardinals’ starting lineup on Saturday, though manager Mike Matheny didn’t rule out his ability to pinch-hit during the series. While the strobe glasses are a good start, Diaz will need more than a pair of specs to match the spotlight-worthy performance he turned out during his rookie season in 2016.
Red Sox’ left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez may finally get a chance at cracking the rotation again, assuming all goes well in Double-A Portland first. Rodriguez took the field prior to the club’s afternoon session with the Angels, firing 68 pitches in a simulated game as he prepared for an upcoming rehab assignment in Portland on Thursday.
The 24-year-old southpaw suffered a right knee subluxation during pregame warmups on June 1, and it’s been a slow path to recovery ever since. It’s not the first time Rodriguez has had issues with his right knee — he sustained a similar injury during spring training last year — and this time around, the Red Sox weren’t about to gamble with their starter’s health. Ian Browne of MLB.com reports that Rodriguez was put in a knee brace and underwent exercises designed to help him regain some mobility and stability while he worked back up to full strength on the mound.
He’ll still need to prove he can throw a 75- to 80-pitch outing in Double-A, and barring any significant setbacks, will likely rejoin the Red Sox’ pitching staff when they visit the Rangers next month. In the meantime, the club will continue to cycle starters through the No. 5 spot, which has seen no fewer than three different pitchers since Rodriguez hit the disabled list. The lefty is 4-2 in 10 starts this season after logging a 3.54 ERA, 3.1 BB/9 and career-high 9.6 SO/9 through his first 61 innings.