Miguel Tejada received a 105-game suspension from Major League baseball after testing positive for amphetamines for a second and third time this year. The suspension would run through the first 65 games of the 2014 season, which may simply push the 39-year-old Tejada into retirement instead.
On the heels of that news, Twins starter Mike Pelfrey talked with Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer Press about his own legal, by-the-book use of Adderall to treat his ADHD. You should read the whole article here, but here is an illuminating snippet:
“When I don’t take my Adderall, my mind, my thoughts are just all over the place,” he said. “When I’m taking it, I’m able to focus on one task and able to do one thing instead of (having) 20 different things pop in your head. It definitely helps.”
Without an attention deficit disorder or ADHD diagnosis, Adderall could give a player additional energy, Pelfrey said.
“When you don’t need it, it acts like a true amphetamine,” he said. “I don’t get all amped up on it. I’m probably more laid back when I’m on it. My thought process is toned down to one thing instead of 20 different things. Without it I’m pretty hyperactive and running around.”
Though it is easy to look at Pelfrey’s 5.26 ERA and snicker, it can be tough to muster the energy to play at peak athletic form on a day-in, day-out basis over a six-month span, which is why more and more players have been testing positive for amphetamine use in recent years rather than steroids.
Former Colorado Rockies outfielder Ryan Spilborghs wrote a column earlier this year suggesting that Major League Baseball could reduce the need for players to rely on performance-enhancing drugs by expanding rosters and putting a cap on the maximum amount of games in which a player can play. Of course, the issue is complex enough that a couple tweaks to the rules won’t fix the issue, but it does show that the onus is not just on the players.
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.