Jorge Posada claims to have back injury, still in the wrong

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This thing is officially a mess, but we’re going to try to lay out all the different reports and go from there.

Yankees designated hitter Jorge Posada removed himself from Saturday night’s lineup against the rival Red Sox, telling manager Joe Girardi an hour before game time that he “needed a mental day” of rest. At least, that’s how Girardi put it in his postgame press conference. A report that surfaced around the third inning from the YES Network’s Jack Curry told quite a different tale:

According to person briefed on Posada’s exchange with Girardi, Posada told mgr he was “insulted” about hitting 9th and “threw a hissy fit.”

Posada is now claiming to have a stiff back — a result of taking pregame infield practice at first base — but did not inform Girardi of the ailment during their pregame conversation.

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman made his way to the press box around the fourth inning to discuss the matter but did not divulge much information, saying that he “didn’t want to speak for” the 39-year-old designated hitter and that he had no knowledge of any sort of injury. Reports followed stating that Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner was “in contact with Bud Selig’s office” regarding Posada’s refusal to play.

There aren’t two sides to this story. There are several. But in each one of them Posada looks like a complete clown. He either refused to play on Saturday night against the Red Sox because he felt slighted at being dropped to the ninth spot in the lineup — a preposterous attitude considering his lofty $13.1 million salary and current offensive struggles — or he’s actually injured and didn’t bother to tell anyone.

Whatever the case, it’s on Posada to patch things up. Either with a public apology or closed-door meeting with Girardi and Cashman, an apology must be issued so that the situation can blow over.

Posada is batting just .165 with a .621 OPS in 33 games this year. On a team full of aging DH types like Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter and Andruw Jones, the guy is far more expendable than he might think.

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.