Royals demote prospect Mike Montgomery to Double-A

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Royals pitching prospect Mike Montgomery was the 36th overall selection in the 2008 draft and ranked 19th on Baseball America‘s Top 100 list heading into the 2011 season. But his career has since stalled.

The 23-year-old left-hander posted an uninspiring 5.32 ERA and 7.7 K/9 across 150 2/3 innings last season in his first taste of the Triple-A level and was demoted to Double-A Northwest Arkansas earlier today after opening this summer with a 5.69 ERA and 6.6 K/9 over his first 91 2/3 frames of 2012.

“We just want to get him back there with [Double-A Northwest Arkansas pitching coach] Larry Carter and work on some things,” Royals general manager Dayton Moore told beat reporter Dick Kaegel of MLB.com. “The organization just felt it was the right thing to do. Just give him a breather and re-start a little bit. We’re trying to get him more downhill and power his fastball in the zone. We just think getting back down there will be beneficial to him.”

Montgomery had a sparkling 1.88 ERA, 0.887 WHIP and 9.3 K/9 in his two plus seasons of High-A ball.

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.