Hanley Ramirez might not return until September

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When it was announced earlier today that Marlins shortstop Hanley Ramirez had been cleared to begin a rehab assignment tonight with Single-A Jupiter, the general consensus was that he’d play two or three games on the farm before returning to the majors early next week. Possibly as soon as Monday.

But that’s not the Marlins’ plan.

According to Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post, the Fish plan to be “conservative” with their star shortstop and might not activate him until major league rosters expand on the first of September.

Ramirez has been sidelined since August 2 with a left shoulder sprain. He’s no longer experiencing discomfort, but the Marlins want to be sure that he’s fully healed before allowing him back on a big league diamond.

Hanley is batting .243/.333/.379 with 10 homers and 20 stolen bases through 92 games this season. Emilio Bonifacio, hitting .230/.299/.310 in the month of August, has been filling in at shortstop in Ramirez’s absence.

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.