Aroldis Chapman will be on innings limit in Reds’ rotation

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Aroldis Chapman is going to enter spring training next February as a starter. Should he also emerge as one, there will have to be a limit on the amount of innings that he throws in 2013 because he topped out at 71 2/3 frames as the Reds’ closer in 2012.

But that innings limit won’t be all that strict.

Reds pitching coach Bryan Price told John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer on Wednesday afternoon that he will “see where [Chapman] is in terms of innings and pitches after 25 or 30 starts.” Which is basically a full season for most healthy starting pitchers in the major leagues.

“We’ll know a lot more by the time we get to spring training,” Price added. “I don’t think there’s an absolute. You have to have a plan and hope it works. Any time you have a young pitcher and he’s going to surpass his inning total, there’s going to be questions if he gets hurt. We can’t be scared of that.”

Chapman has a dominant 2.33 ERA, 1.02 WHIP and 14.1 K/9 in 135 career major-league innings.

The 25-year-old left-hander is under contract with the Reds through the conclusion of the 2015 season.

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.