Dustin Pedroia suffered a concussion last Saturday when he took a forearm to the head in a collision with Rays infielder Logan Forsythe at second base, but Sean McAdam of CSNNE.com reports that he’s expected to return tomorrow.
Pedroia dealt with dizziness and sleep problems initially and “didn’t feel quite right” when he tried to ramp up activities on Tuesday, but he was able to make it through his usual pre-game routine this afternoon at Yankee Stadium, including a full round of batting practice. He still has some hurdles to cross, but all signs point toward him being in the lineup for the start of a series against the Blue Jays in Fenway Park.
“We’ve got to get him one final medical exam tomorrow,” said John Farrell, “but at this point, things are looking like he’ll be on the field and in the lineup tomorrow.”
Pedroia, 31, is batting .280/.340/.379 with seven home runs and 51 RBI over 131 games this season. He’s still making contact as much as ever before, but he has struggled to rediscover his power since his thumb injury last year.
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.