“We love you A-Rod”

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That’s what someone shouted from their car at Alex Rodriguez as he left the Yankees training complex yesterday as he finished his first day of baseball activities following hip surgery.

Kevin Kernan of the Post has a story about it. A-Rod says all the right things. It’s like the Yankees Department of Mystique and Aura wrote his script for him. He said it’s like “being 8 years old again.” He’s excited about the future, admits to feeling embarrassed about how last season ended and, while being cautious about his timetable for return, waxes positive and optimistic. If all of the things he said came out of Derek Jeter’s mouth no one would bat an eye.

This had to bug Kernan and the Post sports editors. Absolutely NOTHING in there with which to criticize Rodriguez. So he added this at the end:

With those words, Rodriguez got into his Maybach, a vehicle that sells for about $416,000, and was off — finally, his first day of baseball activities behind him.

I don’t ever recall reading about what car Jeter or Teixeira or Granderson or anyone else drove away in from the training facility, let alone how much it cost. The only reason for the car stuff and the misleading scene-setting is to signal to Post readers that A-Rod is rich and different in order to stoke some sort of “he’s an out-of-touch big shot” fires. That’s it.

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.