Matt Harvey says he has always considered 180 innings as his limit

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Mets right-hander Matt Harvey spoke with reporters Saturday afternoon to address the brewing controversy over his innings limit. If there was any doubt about whether he’s on the same page with his agent, Scott Boras, we can officially put that to rest.

According to Anthony DiComo of MLB.com, Harvey said he has always considered 180 innings as his limit for the season. He also refused to answer any questions about his availability for the playoffs and said that he’s merely focused on his next scheduled start Tuesday against the Nationals.

Here are some quotes via Matt Ehalt of the Bergen Record:

Harvey, who is in his first season back from Tommy John surgery, is currently at 166 1/3 innings for the year. Boras has said that Dr. James Andrews, Harvey’s surgeon, recommended that his client be shut down at 180 innings while Mets general manager Sandy Alderson has said that no hard cap was provided. Either there was a huge miscommunication here or somebody isn’t telling the truth about the timeline of events. Remember, Harvey was vocal about his dislike for a six-man rotation, which one would think he should have been on board with if managing his innings and pitching deeper into the season was the goal.

The Mets still plan to have Harvey finish out the regular season and be available for a potential postseason run, but it appears that they’ll be doing so against the player’s wishes. Oh boy. While you can’t blame a player for looking out for his long-term health and earning potential, these comments aren’t going to go over well in New York.

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.