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Sergio Romo plays third base in Yankees-Rays game

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Occasionally teams mess around with putting a relief pitcher in the outfield for a single batter and then bringing him back to the mound after the batter is retired. It’s not common, but it’s a way to achieve some better matchups without burning a pitcher. It’s different, the advantages are probably minimal in the grand scheme, but it’s innovative I suppose.

The Rays skew innovative, particularly with their relief pitcher use, and today they did something I haven’t seem before. They did the old switch-in-switch-out with a reliever, but rather than hide the reliever in left field, they put him at third base for a single at bat.

The pitcher was Sergio Romo. It looked like this:

There isn’t much more to show you because he didn’t get a chance to make a play. Still looks weird out there, though, right?

As for how it played out: Romo had finished the eighth inning on the mound. Lefty Greg Bird was leading off the ninth, so Rays manager Kevin Cash wanted a lefty to face him. Jonny Venters came in to face Bird, inducing a ground out. Then Romo got back on the mound. A couple of batters reached buy then Romo got Austin Romine to pop out and Brett Gardner to strike out. Rays win, Romo gets the save. I guess, in a way, he got a hold too, but they didn’t award him that. I guess you can’t get both a save and a hold? I dunno.

Anyway, modern baseball. It’s fantastic.

Cubs shut Brandon Morrow down for remainder of 2019

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Cubs reliever Brandon Morrow, on a rehab assignment as he works his way back from elbow and forearm issues, suffered a setback and has been shut down for the remainder of the 2019 season, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian reports.

Morrow, 35, hasn’t pitched since July 15, 2018. The right-hander inked a two-year, $21 million contract with the Cubs in December 2017 but has been unable to stay healthy. When he did pitch last year, he was excellent, limiting the opposition to five runs on 24 hits and nine walks with 31 strikeouts and 22 saves in 30 2/3 innings.

Morrow is likely done as a Cub. He has a vesting option for 2020 worth $12 million. The details aren’t publicly available but it presumably won’t vest. The Cubs can instead buy him out for $3 million, making him a free agent.