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Sergio Romo to make first start after 588 relief appearances

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According to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times, the Rays will give Sergio Romo his first major league start Saturday, though the plan is to have him work just the first and maybe part of the second inning.

The key here is that the Rays are facing an Angels team that stacks a bunch of right-handers at the top of the lineup. Shohei Ohtani pitches Sunday, so he’s probably not going to start Saturday. The other two lefties the Angels play fairly regularly, Kole Calhoun and Luis Valbuena, have both struggled and are hitting in the bottom half of the order. The Angels could move someone up in response to the Rays starting Romo, but the Rays probably wouldn’t care overly much. If the Angels use their normal lineup, Romo would face Zack Cozart, Mike Trout, Justin Upton and, if necessary, Albert Pujols in the first.

The plan is for lefty Ryan Yarbrough to relieve Romo, perhaps to start the second or the first time a lefty is due up. Yarbrough has started his last three times out and could pitch as many as 5-6 innings in relief against the Angels.

Romo, who broke into the majors with the Giants 10 years ago, has made 588 relief appearances without a start. He has made a few one- and two-inning starts in rehab appearances in the minors through the years, but he was last a regular starter in A-ball in 2006.