You probably already heard the news that author Tom Clancy died Tuesday. For his sake, I hope that he had gotten to see Montana.
I wasn’t a huge Clancy fan. I read exactly one book of his mostly because I don’t go in for military/espionage/thriller stuff, generally speaking. But any HBT reader who has been around for a while knows that I love the living heck out of the movie version of “The Hunt for Red October.” I don’t have any idea how faithful the movie is to the book, but I don’t care. The movie is awesome and it doesn’t exist if not for Clancy, so my hat will always be off to the guy. So give me a ping, Vasili. One ping only, please, in his honor.
But Clancy had a baseball connection too. He was a minority owner of the Orioles. He came in to the group back when Peter Angelos purchased the team in 1993. And it wasn’t some symbolic share. Before his divorce he was a 24 percent stakeholder. He also held the title of Orioles’ vice chairman of community projects and public affairs. The team issued a statement on his passing earlier today:
For decades, Tom Clancy entertained millions with his novels and enjoyed producing no fewer than seventeen best-sellers. He was an extraordinary storyteller who had an ability to keep readers on the edge of their seats. His passion for the military was evident in his efforts to ensure that the men and women who serve our country were properly recognized for their service and commitment.
While he achieved international acclaim as a celebrated author, Tom, a proud Baltimorean, was a devoted Marylander, a treasured friend, and a valued partner and advisor in the Orioles ownership group. He was a regular presence at Oriole Park and enjoyed talking about baseball, the ballclub and its operations.
We are deeply saddened by Tom’s passing. He will be missed but long remembered.
On behalf of the Orioles, we extend our sympathies to his family.
Same here. On a day Clancy sails into history.
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.