Athletics lose Coco Crisp, Yoenis Cespedes to injury in extras

8 Comments

The A’s lost two outfielders to injury Friday when Coco Crisp departed with a strained left groin and Yoenis Cespedes came out for a pinch-hitter with a left hand injury.

X-rays were negative on Cespedes’ hand, CSNBayArea.com’s Casey Pratt reports.

Cespedes was injured on an awkward slide into second while attempting a steal in the eighth. While it didn’t look good at the time, he was able to stay in to play defense. He was then removed for a pinch-hitter in the 11th when his spot in the order came up.

The departures forced the A’s to shuffle their lineup and move designated hitter Chris Young into the outfield. That put reliever Jerry Blevins in the cleanup spot to begin the 12th inning in the game against the Tigers. Fortunately for the A’s, the pitcher’s spot never came up: Josh Donaldson homered in the bottom of the inning to give the team a 4-3 win.

Crisp’s injury comes at a bad time for him: he’s been one of the AL’s best players so far, hitting .333 with four homers, five doubles and a league-high 14 runs scored.

Still, the A’s are well set up to lose an outfielder, what with Young available to play center regularly. It’d hurt more if two went down, but even then, they’d be able to play Seth Smith and Brandon Moss in left whenever they chose. Also, they have two red-hot outfielders at Triple-A Sacramento awaiting opportunities; Michael Taylor is hitting .410 with three homers and 11 RBI for the River Cats, while teammate Shane Peterson has a .440/.588/.600 line in eight games.

Zack Cozart thinks the way the Rays have been using Sergio Romo is bad for baseball

Matthew Stockman/Getty Images
6 Comments

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.