Sore elbow puts Chad Billingsley on 60-day disabled list

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As of a couple of days ago, the Dodgers were holding out hope that Chad Billingsley might be able to contribute as a reliever later this month. That dream is now dead, as he was transferred from the 15-day to the 60-day disabled list on Wednesday.

Left-hander Steven Rodriguez, a 2012 second-round pick who was pitching for the Florida Gators a couple of months ago, was called up to join the bullpen.

Billingsley was having a nice bounce-back season before his elbow shut him down last month. He won seven straight starts from July 23-Aug. 19, and he was 10-9 with a 3.55 ERA when he went on the disabled list.

Without Billingsley and Ted Lilly, the Dodgers are currently going with a rotation of Clayton Kershaw, Chris Capuano, Josh Beckett, Aaron Harang and Joe Blanton. Lilly, out since late May with a sore shoulder, threw a simulated game Wednesday and is hoping to rejoin the Dodgers later this month, but he lacks the time necessary to get stretched out to start.

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.