James Loney spoke with Tony Jackson of ESPN Los Angeles yesterday, issuing his first public comments since news broke that he was arrested last month on suspicion of driving under the influence after crashing into three cars.
Among other things, Loney claims that he was not under the influence of drugs or alcohol and has no memory of what happened after colliding with the first car and hitting his head. One other interesting note is that he didn’t inform the Dodgers of his arrest and that the team learned through a third party.
“Definitely, I should have made them aware,” Loney said. “I should have told them what happened. I should have done that. They have my back, and they know what type of person I am and what type of character I have, and they are here to help me. I am sorry if I offended anyone and grateful there were no serious injuries. I had no intention to hurt or offend anyone. There were no charges filed against me. I appreciate the police watching out for my welfare that night.”
The incident comes at an interesting time for Loney, who is arbitration-eligible for the final time this winter. The non-tender deadline is Monday, though Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti told the Los Angeles Times on Thursday that he is still comfortable offering him a contract unless other damning information emerges.
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.