USA TODAY’s Ted Berg recapped an as yet unaired episode of Jim Rome on Showtime, writing that recent Hall of Fame inductee Frank Thomas is still asking questions about some of the players who played at the same time he did, including Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire.
“I knew it was shady when Sammy Sosa hit 60 home runs,” Thomas said.”Sammy Sosa was my teammate for three years coming up. So watching his career and watching him grow, for three years he was capable of only 20-25, 27 home runs at the most… there’s no way Sammy doubled me up. With Mark McGwire, you really had to take a look at it because Mark McGwire had 48 home runs as a rookie.”
Thomas also criticized ESPN’s Skip Bayless:
“I hate to bring up names,” Thomas said, “but Skip Bayless even said the other week, ‘How did I walk through the door without any suspicion?’ And I would like to have a conversation with him because I walked the walk and talked the talk from Day 1.”
If you thought Thomas would let the issue go now that he has earned induction into the Hall of Fame, think again. It seems like Thomas is going to be harping on this issue for a while. Thomas is on record saying that he doesn’t believe that PED users should be in the Hall of Fame. One has to wonder when the media and some of the more vocal former and active players will simply accept that the offensive boom of the late 1980’s through the early 1990’s happened and it’s fruitless to try to act as if it never happened.
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.