D’Backs owner Ken Kendrick takes on Stephen Drew, Justin Upton

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Ken Kendrick, managing general partner of the Diamondbacks, decided to go public with his frustrations regarding Stephen Drew and Justin Upton on Tuesday.

Drew, of course, has yet to play this season after breaking and tearing ligaments in his ankle last July. He has recently been participating in extended spring training games.

That’s not enough for Kendrick, who apparently believes Drew should have returned several weeks ago. Doing a radio interview today, he said:

You know, I’m going to be real direct about Stephen. I think Stephen should have been out there playing before now. And, frankly, I for one am disappointed.

I’m going to be real candid and say I think Stephen and his representatives are more focused on where Stephen is going to be a year from now than going out and supporting the team that’s paying his salary.

All you can do is hope that the player is treating the situation with integrity, and, frankly, we have our concerns.

Kendrick also had some remarks for Justin Upton, who has been a disappointment while hitting .243/.340/.365 with five homers and 20 RBI in 181 at-bats this season.

Well, I think Justin is an enigma at this point. I know he had an injury early on, maybe a little bit of a nagging injury. But he’s played. He’s certainly not the Justin Upton that he has been in the past and that we would expect of him. He’s 24 years old, and it’s time for him to be a consistent performer and right now this year he’s not been that.

What Kendrick hopes to gain from his little rants is unclear, but Drew sure is looking like a goner at season’s end. There’s a mutual $10 million option for 2013 on his contract that neither the Diamondbacks nor Drew might have much interest in exercising.

Upton is almost certainly around to stay. Kendrick might want to back off there, considering that Upton was one of the NL’s most valuable players last season. It’s not as though he’s been a long-term disappointment. He’s off to a rough start, but at the same time, he’s not exactly killing the team with his league-average OPS.

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.