UPDATE, 10:40 PM: From the Marlins’ official Twitter feed comes the bad news: Nolasco indeed has a torn meniscus and has been scratched from his scheduled Sunday start. Andrew Miller will fill in.
UPDATE, 5:48 PM: Sounds like we at least have confirmation of which knee is injured. According to Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post, Nolasco is walking around the clubhouse with a brace on his right knee. More to follow.
5:25 PM: Details are scarce at this time, but Joe Frisaro of MLB.com hears that Ricky Nolasco may have a torn meniscus in one of his knees. The Marlins are reportedly checking to see if that is the case.
Nolasco last pitched on Tuesday, tossing six shutout innings against the Pirates. He was scheduled to pitch again Sunday against the Astros. It’s safe to say that outing is now in doubt.
Just a short while ago, we learned that the Marlins recently began preliminary talks on a contract extension with Nolasco. The 27-year-old right-hander is 14-8 with a 4.22 ERA over 25 starts this season. He is making $3.8 million this season and remains under team control through 2012.
The Rays started Sergio Romo on back-to-back days and if that sounds weird to you, you’re not alone. Romo, of course, was the star closer for the Giants for a while, helping them win the World Series in 2012 and ’14. He’s been a full-time reliever dating back to 2006, when he was at Single-A.
In an effort to prevent lefty Ryan Yarbrough from facing the righty-heavy top of the Angels’ lineup (Zack Cozart, Mike Trout, Justin Upton), Romo started Saturday’s game, pitching the first inning before giving way to Yarbrough in the second. Romo struck out the side, in fact. The Rays went on to win 5-3.
The Rays did it again on Sunday afternoon, starting Romo. This time, he got four outs before giving way to Matt Andriese. Romo walked two without giving up a hit while striking out three. The Angels managed to win 5-2 however.
Despite Sunday’s win, Cozart wasn’t a happy camper with the way the Rays used Romo. Via Fabian Ardaya of The Athletic, Cozart said, “It was weird … It’s bad for baseball, in my opinion … It’s spring training. That’s the best way to explain it.”
It’s difficult to see merit in Cozart’s argument. It’s not like the Rays were making excessive amounts of pitching changes; they used five on Saturday and four on Sunday. The games lasted three hours and three hours, 15 minutes, respectively. The average game time is exactly three hours so far this season. I’m having trouble wondering how else Cozart might mean the strategy is bad for baseball.
It seems like the real issue is that Cozart is afraid of the sport changing around him. The Rays, like most small market teams, have to find their edges in slight ways. The Rays aren’t doing this blindly; the strategy makes sense based on their opponents’ starting lineup. The idea of valuing on-base percentage was scoffed at. Shifting was scoffed at and now every team employs them to some degree. Who knows if starting a reliever for the first three or four outs will become a trend, but it’s shortsighted to write it off at first glance.