Mariners designate Hector Noesi for assignment

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Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times reports that the Mariners have designated Hector Noesi for assignment. To fill his spot on the roster, the Mariners have called up 22-year-old right-hander Dominic Leone.

Noesi was acquired along with Jesus Montero in the trade that sent Michael Pineda to the Yankees. He struggled to start the 2014 season, allowing two runs to the Angels in his season debut on Wednesday, and serving up a walk-off solo home run to Coco Crisp in the 12th inning on Thursday night.

Noesi is only 27 years old and will be eligible for arbitration for the first time after the season, so his youth and ability to be cost-controlled could make him attractive to other teams.

Leone has put up impressive numbers in his 97 innings in professional baseball. Last season, split between Single-A and Double-A, Leone posted a 2.25 ERA with 64 strikeouts and 17 unintentional walks in 64 innings. The Mariners will likely use him exclusively in low-leverage situations, but his strikeout potential could make him an attractive option to use in the late innings as the season progresses.

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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.