Mike Lupica tells Matt Harvey he needs to grow up. It’s pretty close to incoherent, even by Lupica’s standards — I’d bet my children this was dictated from the car as he rode to the ESPN studios or wherever he was over the weekend — but here’s the paraphrased version:
Matt Harvey thinks he’s so big and, yes, actually, he IS so big. But he doesn’t need to constantly remind us of all of the things he’s doing in his rehab even though people who cover the Mets report on every single little thing about what he’s doing in his rehab and eve though Mets fans really want to know what’s going on with his rehab too.
And he needs to cut out this enthusiasm he has to get back on the field, because that’s just bad. I mean, not as bad as when Mets players show something less than enthusiasm to to get on the field — we kill guys for that! — but still pretty bad. And this coming back from injury early thing is nearly as bad as lingering on the DL longer than we M.D.s in the media think is appropriate.
Gosh, I am so lost and lonely and only care about baseball insofar as it allows me to lecture young punk kids to not be young punk kids.
If you get anything else out of that column, let me know, because that’s how it read to me. I will quote one bit of actual Lupica, though:
One of these days, Matt Harvey needs to remember — and that probably means before he hurts his arm again — that his job is to be a star young baseball pitcher, not some sort of needy celebrity who acts as if he gets the bends when he is out of the spotlight for very long.
Physician, heal thyself.
My take on Harvey: it’s better to listen to your manager and your GM, dude, and you should be a bit more aware of the media environment in which you play. But beyond that, you’re cool. Get your arm ready and pitch when we tell you to and it’ll all be fine.
I feel like one can take that position and not have baseball be ruined, but I suppose only time will tell.
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.