Via C. Trent Rosecrans of the Cincinnati Enquirer:
Reds third base coach Mark Berry told the team Sunday morning that he has been diagnosed with cancer, but expressed optimism that he will beat it.
“I have cancer,” Berry told reporters after the team meeting. “I know it sounds bad, the word cancer, but there are plenty of people in this clubhouse that have had it and I know people around the game who have beaten it. My sister had it and beat it. That part hasn’t bothered me.”
The cancer is “on his tonsil and two lymph nodes,” adds Rosecrans, but it was detected at an early stage and the prognosis is positive. Berry is going to remain in Reds camp through the end of spring training and will decide on the next course of action once he travels back with the team to Cincinnati.
If Berry, 50, undergoes radiation, he will not join the Reds on road trips this season.
Berry has been the Reds’ third base coach for 10 years. He’s been with the organization for 30.
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.