Nationals infield prospect Anthony Rendon had to be carried off the field Saturday night during a game at High-A Lynchburg after falling awkwardly while trying to round third base in the fourth inning. But the diagnosis is in, and it’s not all that bad.
According to Mark Zuckerman of CSN Washington’s Nats Insider, Rendon has been diagnosed with a left ankle sprain. It’s of the severe variety, but the Nationals and their fans can take solace in the fact that there was no fracture andno structural damage.
Rendon, the sixth-overall pick in the 2011 MLB Amateur Draft, broke his right ankle while playing for Team USA in 2010 and barely played the field in his final season at Rice University due to a right shoulder strain. The Nationals will hope that his early-career proneness to injuries fades as he approaches the majors.
Rendon has a double, a triple and two walks through the first six plate appearances of his professional career. The 21-year-old batted .371 with 46 doubles, 52 homers and 194 RBI in 187 total games at Rice.
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.