LaRue says concussion will spell an end to his career

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If Cardinals fans disliked Johnny Cueto before, they’re going to really despise the guy now.

Cardinals backup catcher Jason LaRue told Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on Saturday that he is done playing professional baseball due to a concussion suffered in early August when Cueto kicked him multiple times in the head.

“I’m done,” LaRue said. “It’s a simple decision.”

LaRue is still dealing with random bouts of headaches and nausea and said he gets a feeling much like seasickness when watching television or riding in a car.  He wasn’t able to cook for himself, either, even a month after the kicks.

The 36-year-old will finish up with a .231/.315/.396 career batting line, accomplished over 11-plus professional seasons.  He hit .196 this year with two homers and five RBI in 55 at-bats as Yadier Molina’s backup.

LaRue considered taking legal action against Cueto in the weeks after the on-field assault but has since dropped that idea.  We’re thinking the Reds may want to limit Cueto’s exposure to the Busch Stadium crowd for a while.  A long while.

Cardinals manager Tony La Russa — an almost overly loyal backer of the guys he likes, and he liked LaRue — is most definitely steaming about tonight’s news.

Zack Cozart thinks the way the Rays have been using Sergio Romo is bad for baseball

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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.