Alex Rodriguez arrived to Yankees camp in Tampa, Florida today, first completing a physical before doing his first workout at the team’s minor league complex. Normally teams would applaud their players for reporting early. It’s showing initiative. But this is A-Rod we are talking about, so of course somebody has a problem with it.
According to Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News, Yankees officials were “fuming” that A-Rod didn’t give them a heads up about his early arrival. Really:
A-Rod’s early arrival was a bit of a surprise, as many had pegged him for a Wednesday appearance when position players are slated to report to Steinbrenner Field.
Roughly 20 reporters and a handful of cameras were on hand at the minor-league complex to greet A-Rod, a fraction of what had been expected for his arrival.
But while the early start may have lessened the media boom, it also caught the Yankees by surprise, leaving Brian Cashman and the team’s media relations staff scrambling for answers when asked about Rodriguez’s rumored arrival.
The Yankees had no issues with A-Rod arriving on Monday, but team officials were fuming that he hadn’t alerted them to his plans.
“He’s learned nothing,” said one baseball executive. “He’s the same old guy. He just did what he wanted to do.”
And if A-Rod merely reported on time with the rest of the position players, we’d likely hear an anonymous source saying the Yankees were disappointed he didn’t get there early to show that he means business after his year-long PED suspension. We’re in damned if you do, damned if you don’t territory here and it’s beyond silly. But it’s also oh-so-predictable.
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.