Many of Ryan Braun’s current teammates have been supportive of him publicly following the announcement of his 65-game suspension for his connections to Biogenesis, but one former teammate isn’t pulling punches.
After taking a couple of days to gather his thoughts on the matter, Dodgers right-hander Zack Greinke expressed his disappointment on Braun in comments to Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times.
“The main thing is, yeah, he lied to us,” Greinke said. “He forced us to lie for him, threw people under the bus in order to help himself out and didn’t care, blamed others for his mistakes and it’s just a lot of things you don’t expect from people.”
Greinke was a member of the Brewers from 2011 until last July, so he was there when Braun’s 50-game suspension was overturned last February. He was one of many of those close to Braun who believed him when he said he never used performance-enhancing drugs.
“Oh, yeah, 100% believed him,” Greinke said. “Everything was so convincing. He had people to blame. He seemed like a really good guy. He was a good teammate at the time. You don’t know the guys that he was pinning it on. I’m not positive, but I think everyone 100% believed him at the time. Especially the next year, he looked just as good as the year before. His numbers his whole career, Hall of Fame numbers. How could you not believe him? He was so convincing.”
Like many others, Greinke isn’t satisfied with the statement Braun gave in the announcement from MLB earlier this week.
“The fact that even to this day he hasn’t had a real apology is really upsetting to me,” Greinke said. “I thought about it a bunch. He still hasn’t really apologized.”
Braun is under a gag-order from MLB right now, so he can’t say anything publicly on the matter, but he clearly has a lot of fences to mend in the weeks and months ahead.
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.