Adam Wainwright: “I didn’t want Derek Jeter to get a hit”

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Adam Wainwright did an in-game interview with FOX’s Erin Andrews after the eighth inning about his controversial comment that he grooved a pitch to Derek Jeter in the veteran shortstop’s first at-bat of Tuesday night’s MLB All-Star Game.

Here’s the dialogue …

[Video of the first-inning at-bat plays]

Andrews: “Adam is watching this video with me right now going ‘Come on — 94 mph, 87 mph, that’s ridiculous.’ The comments you made to the reporters after you pitched … what was that all about?”

Wainwright: “Sometimes my humor goes … uh … gets taken the wrong way. I feel terrible about this. If anyone’s taking any credit away from what Derek Jeter has done tonight … I mean, it was mis-said. I made a mistake by that. I hope people realize I’m not intentionally giving hits up out there. I know this game means something. I’m guessing people think I’m trying to give up home runs to Miguel Cabrera too? I’m very competitive. I think I said yesterday that I didn’t want Derek Jeter to get a hit. I think I said it today, even, before I pitched. So I don’t know. It’s a distraction and I do not want to be a distraction. I wanted it to be all for Derek. If anything is taking away from his moment then I sincerely apologize. At no point in my career have I gone out and intentionally given up hits.”

Andrews: “Well we appreciate you clearing that up. Don’t you love social media?”

Wainwright: “No. I don’t love social media.”

Did Adam Wainwright take away from Derek Jeter?

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.