A’s starter Brett Anderson undergoes Tommy John surgery

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Brett Anderson was placed on the disabled list with a sore elbow in early June and Dr. James Andrews later advised him to rest for at least six weeks, which at the time indicated he wouldn’t need to go under the knife.

Unfortunately the time off must not have done much for Anderson’s elbow, as the A’s just announced that the 23-year-old southpaw underwent Tommy John surgery that knocks him out for the remainder of this season and most or perhaps even all of 2012.

Oakland has had tons of injury problems over the years, but losing Anderson is a particularly huge blow.  He was limited to just 19 starts last season due to elbow issues, but emerged as a potential ace with a 2.80 ERA and has a 3.66 career mark in 371 innings. Now he’s out for 12-18 months and no sure thing to pick up right where he left off once he does return. It’s a long, bumpy road coming back from Tommy John surgery and the A’s just lost one of their best long-term building blocks.

All of which makes Anderson’s decision to take the guaranteed money of a long-term deal in March of last year look pretty smart. He’ll make $3 million next season whether he pitches or not, has a $5.5 million salary locked in for 2013, and will get $3 million worth of buyouts if the A’s don’t exercise 2014 and 2015 options.

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.