Jordan Zimmermann exits start with right biceps cramp; will go for MRI

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Jordan Zimmermann gave the Nationals quite a scare last night when he was forced to exit his start against the Phillies in the fourth inning due to injury. According to Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com, it was announced after the game that he had a right biceps cramp and will undergo an MRI today.

Zimmermann, who had Tommy John surgery in 2009, said after the game that he’s confident that the issue is muscular in nature and doesn’t involve a ligament.

“When I had the elbow problems, I knew something wasn’t right the whole time and just kept trying to pitch through it,” he said. “This, I don’t think it’s anything major, to be honest with you. It’s a little cramping, and it just felt really tight. So I didn’t want to push it.”

At the very least, Zimmermann will not be able to pitch in the All-Star Game next week. His availability beyond that is up in the air. The Nationals will have to cross their fingers for now.

Zimmermann is having another excellent season for Washington, posting a 3.03 ERA and 101/20 K/BB ratio over 113 innings. He’s currently sporting the best walk rate of his career and his highest strikeout rate since his rookie season.

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.