The Phillies designated left-hander J.C. Romero for assignment on Thursday afternoon to clear a spot on their roster for Friday night’s starter, Vance Worley.
Romero has battled control issues and a variety of injuries over the past several seasons in Philadelphia, but he has a great ability to retire left-handed batters and that’s something that has piqued the interest of at least one NL team.
According to Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Cardinals are planning to “investigate Romero’s availability.”
Tony La Russa loves lefty specialists like Rick Reilly loves rolling metaphors, so it certainly seems feasible that the Cardinals might take a real run at acquiring Romero, either through a straight wavier claim or a trade with the Philies. Trever Miller has not been a consistent option for La Russa and Co. this season, and Brian Tallet is a mess. The Cardinals could use a left-handed weapon in their quest for the division crown.
Romero has kept left-handed hitters to a .208 batting average this season and a .185 mark since 2008. He’s on a $1.35 million salary and has issued 92 walks in his last 128 2/3 innings, but no relievers available at the moment are free of past mishaps and the Cardinals badly need bodies for the middle innings.
Diamondbacks pitcher Shelby Miller left Sunday’s start against the Dodgers after four-plus innings due to tightness in his right forearm, the team announced. He’ll be reevaluated tomorrow. Needless to say, though, a forearm injury is very concerning. In his four innings, Miller gave up three runs on four hits and five walks with three strikeouts, raising his ERA to 4.09.
Miller, 26, has had a nightmare of a time since joining the Diamondbacks in December 2015. Last year, he made 20 starts and posted a 6.15 ERA. He suffered a finger injury suffered from scraping his hand on the pitcher’s mound with his follow-through, and he was also demoted to Triple-A during the summer as well.
Pirates starter Ivan Nova has been outstanding in his first three starts of the 2017 season. He yielded only five earned runs in 20 innings for a tidy 2.25 ERA. But even more impressively, Nova didn’t issue a walk in any of those starts.
That changed on Sunday afternoon against the Yankees, but in a most peculiar way. Nova had struck out the side in the first inning, notched a 1-2-3 frame in the second, and got two quick ground outs to begin the third inning, bringing up Yankees pitcher Jordan Montgomery for his first major league at-bat. Montgomery never batted in the minor leagues, either, so Sunday’s AB against Nova was his first since his senior year of high school in 2011. Montgomery took the first two pitches for balls, then a called strike, a ball, and another called strike to even the count. Nova came in with his sixth consecutive fastball but it missed low, walking the Yankees’ pitcher for his first free pass of the 2017 season.
Nova got out of the inning without any further issue. He wound up going seven innings, giving up a lone run on four hits and a walk with seven strikeouts, lowering his ERA to an even 2.00.