Cardinals outfielder Stephen Piscotty inked a six-year, $33.5 million contract extension on Monday. One might be inclined to describe the 26-year-old as “lucky,” considering that as long as he’s not frivolous with his earnings, he’s set up financially for life. That isn’t so.
On Tuesday night against the Cubs, Piscotty endured the worst trip around the base paths probably ever. It started with one out in the bottom of the fifth inning, when Piscotty was hit on the right elbow by a Jake Arrieta pitch. He then stole second base, but was hit again — this time on the left elbow — by the throw to second from Cubs catcher Willson Contreras. With Piscotty on second, Kolten Wong chopped a 1-2 curve to the right of the pitcher’s mound, just past Arrieta. Second baseman Javier Baez charged at the ball, but couldn’t make the barehanded grab. Piscotty raced towards the plate, so Baez fired home, but hit Piscotty in the ear flap of his helmet. Piscotty was safe — giving the Cardinals their first run of the game — but he laid face-down on the dirt in pain.
Piscotty was tended to by team trainers. He sat up and received a round of applause from the home crowd, as well as from the Cubs’ players. He was helped off the field and will assuredly undergo concussion protocol. Matt Adams pinch-hit for starter Adam Wainwright, then stayed in the game to play left field, with Randal Grichuk moving from left to right and Matt Bowman replacing Wainwright.
More should be known about Piscotty’s status after the game or on Wednesday. (Update, via Jose de Jesus Ortiz of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Piscotty has a head contusion and will be reevaluated on Wednesday morning, the Cardinals say.)
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.