MLB honors GLAAD Spirit Day, baseball fans react like cretins

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Today is GLAAD Spirit Day, an annual event bringing awareness to and promoting the prevention of the bullying of LGBT youth. Major League Baseball has responded in support. Teams’ Twitter avatars have gone purple (the color identifying alliance with Spirt Day) and ervery MLB team has posted a link to GLAAD’s Spirit Day webpage to their Facebook page. Nice gesture for a good cause.

Unfortunately, certain fans are responding to it in awful fashion. Deadspin points out the nasty things Braves fans are posting on the team’s Facebook page.  But it’s not limited to Atlanta. The Dodgers page has multiple horrendous responses. As does the Mets. I’m sure most pages have a showing of cretinism as well.

The ones that gall me the most, however, are not the purely bigoted responses. There are jerks and homophobes and bigots everywhere, and they actually provide a service in identifying themselves. Sort of like a sign near a toxic waste dump, warning us off.

No, the ones who really bug me are the “stick to baseball” crowd who, while not explicitly opposing MLB bringing attention to an important issue, seem to wish sincerely that they not do it.  One wonders if they’d feel that way if they were around in 1947. Or the “stay out of politics” crowd, who apparently think that there’s something “political” about not wanting kids to get bullied, beat up, driven to depression or even suicide because of who and what they are.

Anyway, kudos to Major League Baseball for showing solidarity with a good cause. To those who feel that the prevention of bullying of kids is something which should be shouted down or opposed: Please reevaluate your values, your priorities and your life. Thanks.

Aledmys Diaz is trying to improve his defense with strobe glasses

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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.

Eduardo Rodriguez could rejoin the Red Sox rotation in July

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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.