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Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Unconventional Rays play reliever Romo at third base

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The Tampa Bay Rays continued to provide the crazy this blessed baseball season.

During Wednesday’s game against the New York Yankees, Rays manager Kevin Cash turned to some unorthodox tactics again. Righty reliever Sergio Romo had entered the game in the eighth inning and retired both batters he faced to preserve a narrow 3-2 lead. To start the ninth inning, Cash decided to bring in lefty reliever Jonny Venters to face the lefty-hitting Greg Bird but moved Romo over to third base for the one batter. That way, Romo could remain in the game to pitch to the righty-hitting Yankee batters to follow.

What makes it especially interesting is that Cash played an extreme shift against Bird and put Romo at the spot where the ball was least likely to be hit.

The strategy worked to perfection. Venters got Bird to ground out to second, and Romo re-took the hill, eventually getting the final two outs to seal the victory (and earn his 12th save of the season).

While such a move would likely be a little too zany for most teams, this is just business as usual for the Rays. After all, they implemented a very similar tactic with another one of their relievers just last month.

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