Alex Rodriguez will not be activated until Friday

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According to Bryan Hoch of MLB.com, Yankees manager Joe Girardi poured some cooling solution Wednesday on the idea that third baseman Alex Rodriguez might be activated from the 15-day disabled list in time for Thursday night’s series-opening game against the Twins.

A-Rod went 4-for-10 with a double and a home run during a successful four-game minor league rehab assignment and has reported no lingering pain or discomfort in his surgically-repaired right knee, but the Yankees want to play it safe and may ease their veteran slugger back into action.

Here’s Girardi, speaking to Hoch and the Yankees’ other beat reporters:

“Our plans right now are still to bring him to Minnesota tomorrow if everything goes OK,” Girardi said. “We may not activate him. We may just have him go through some things for a couple of days, then wait a couple of days to activate him.”

Rodriguez, 35, was batting .295/.366/.485 with 13 home runs and 52 RBI in 344 plate appearances before his knee procedure. The Yankees have been relying on Eduardo Nunez and Eric Chavez at the hot corner.

UPDATE, 10:40PM: According to Marc Carig of the Newark Star-Ledger, Rodriguez told reporters at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre that he will not be playing for the Yankees on Thursday night.

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.