Mariners left-hander Anthony Vasquez undergoes emergency brain surgery

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Scary news here. According to Greg Johns of MLB.com, Mariners left-hander Anthony Vasquez required emergency surgery last Friday after doctors discovered a ruptured blood vessel in his brain.

Vasquez began experiencing headaches initially, but didn’t think anything was wrong until he had dizziness and vision problems during a throwing session last Wednesday at the Mariners’ complex in Arizona. Tests showed a lesion in his brain and doctors found a left-threatening ruptured arteriovenous malformation (AVM) during the 5 1/2 hour procedure. The good news is that he came out of the surgery fine and was discharged from the hospital today.

“He’s a miracle,” said his father, Rudy, who is a scout in the Angels’ organization. “We have a strong faith in Jesus and Anthony’s faith has always been strong as well. There’s no other way to say it. When the neurosurgeon came out he said, ‘Your son should be dead, but he’s not.'”

Doctors told Vasquez that he’ll need to avoid heavy lifting for about 6-8 weeks, but he’s expected to be back to normal after that. Baseball obviously takes a back seat for now, but there’s a chance he pitch by the spring if all goes well.

Vasquez, 26, had an 8.90 ERA in seven starts with the Mariners in 2011. He was limited to just 11 starts this season with Triple-A Tacoma due to a shoulder injury.

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.