The last time we checked in on Shaun Marcum, he was still experiencing some soreness in his throwing elbow while playing catch. Things haven’t improved over the past few days.
Brewers manager Ron Roenicke told Todd Rosiak of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel this afternoon that Marcum will be sidelined through the All-Star break. The 30-year-old right-hander has been playing catch on a daily basis to gauge his progress, but the team simply hasn’t seen enough improvement in his symptoms.
“Threw again today; still felt it,” Roenicke said. “A little better, but still felt it. I don’t think he’ll make a start before the all-star break. I don’t think there’s any way we can do that.
“But hopefully we get him to where he’s confident that he can go out there and throw the ball and not feel anything. That’s where we’re trying to get to.”
Marcum previously underwent Tommy John surgery back in 2008 and missed the entire 2009 season, but two MRIs have ruled out any new damage to the ulnar collateral ligament in his elbow. For now, the Brewers will just have to hope that the soreness subsides with rest.
Marcum, who is due to become a free agent this winter, has a 3.39 ERA and 77/26 K/BB ratio in 82 1/3 innings across 13 starts this season. Marco Estrada and rookie Michael Fiers will continue to get starts during his absence.
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.