Spring training has become a season and an industry unto itself, complete with big shiny stadiums and expensive tickets and big scoreboards and all of that. As such, we have almost completely forgotten that it’s basically just practice.
Really, that’s the purpose. Teams used to take off to some remote camp in the middle of nowhere in the spring. Maybe a decommissioned army base or ranch owned by the team owner’s friend or some isolated island off the coast of California. There they’d practice. They’d work out and get ready for the season. While they’d play some exhibitions and barnstorm as they headed back north or east, the idea of putting on 30 nine-inning games for paying customers, as if it were the regular season, was almost completely foreign.
Keep that in mind as you watch Asdrubal Cabrera get into, and then peace out of, a rundown in yesterday’s game against the Detroit Tigers:
You may want to call him lazy or lackadaisical or something, but this is practice. It’s still practice, even if MLB and its clubs and the host cities in Arizona and Florida treat it as competitive sports and charge fans as if the games had some consequence. In this case, it was more practice for the Tigers, actually, in that learning how to execute a rundown properly is more critical than a runner learning how to get out of one. Why on Earth should a New York Met help the Tigers with their practice?
Anyway, I don’t blame you, Asdrubal. You get paid for the stuff that starts on April 3. Just make sure you’re in shape and ready for that day.
The Rays acquired right-handed reliever Sergio Romo from the Dodgers, the teams announced Saturday night. Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash hinted that the team was in on Romo during the offseason, but couldn’t quite make a deal happen at the time. The righty reliever was designated for assignment by the Dodgers on Thursday and will net the club cash considerations or a player to be named later.
Romo, 34, struggled to find his footing in his first season with the Dodgers. He left a closing role in San Francisco to play set-up man to established closer Kenley Jansen, and saw mixed results on the mound with a 6.12 ERA, 4.3 BB/9 and 11.2 SO/9 through his first 25 innings of 2017. It’s a far cry from the sub-3.00 ERA he maintained in 2015 and 2016, but the Rays don’t seem to have ruled out a second-half surge just yet.
The veteran right-hander is expected to step into a bullpen that already boasts a solid core of right-handed relievers, including Alex Colome, Brad Boxberger, Erasmo Ramirez, Chase Whitley and Tommy Hunter. According to FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, the Rays were intrigued by Romo’s extensive postseason experience, affordability and hefty strikeout rate, but will likely continue to hunt for additional bullpen depth in the weeks to come.
Astros’ third baseman Colin Moran was carted off the field on Saturday night after a foul ball caught him in the left eye. He was forced to leave in the sixth inning when a pitch from Orioles’ right-handed reliever Darren O'Day ricocheted off the handle of his bat and struck him in the face, causing considerable bleeding and bruising around his eye. The full extent of his injury has yet to be reported by the team.
Prior to the injury, Moran was 1-for-2 with a base hit in the third inning. He was relieved by pinch-hitter/third baseman Marwin Gonzalez, who polished off the end of the at-bat by catapulting a three-run homer onto Eutaw Street.
Evan Gattis and Carlos Beltran combined for another two runs in the ninth inning, bringing the Astros to a four-run lead as they look toward their 65th win of the season. They currently lead the Orioles 7-4 in the bottom of the ninth.