Bobby Valentine announced yesterday that the Red Sox are going to put Carl Crawford on “a four-day program” to help his bum elbow. Meaning that Crawford can’t play more than four games in a row.
Crawford, however, is not happy with it and insisted again that at some point he’s going to need surgery:
“That’s what the doctor told me,” Crawford said of needing surgery. “I’ll try not to even think about it. I go out and play, try not to think about it. I figure one day it’ll blow out, and when that happens, time to go. “The later I wait to get it done, the more time I’m going to miss. I guess you guys can do the calculation on that and see how that works. I definitely know that at some point of my career I can’t keep playing with this ligament in my elbow like that.”
Then, after that Valentine chimed in:
“I heard what Carl said,” Valentine said. “I’ve never been told that he needs an operation. I don’t think that’s a definitive situation.”
It’s never easy in Boston.
In other news, I love that we have a left fielder and a manager discussing medical prognosis as if there weren’t some doctors around with greater insight on the manner.
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.