Ricky Romero made his first Triple-A start since being demoted back to the minors by the Blue Jays and looked very much like the pitcher who’s 1-15 with a 7.60 ERA in the big leagues since last June.
Romero failed to make it out of the fourth inning, coughing up six runs on 10 hits, and walked five batters while recording zero strikeouts. It was a complete disaster of a start.
Blue Jays pitching coach Pete Walker was asked about the terrible performance and gave an excuse-filled response to Mike Rutsey of the Toronto Sun:
I think anytime anybody has returned from the big leagues to the minor leagues it’s always a letdown. Those Triple-A hitters can swing the bat. I mean, there’s a lot of good players down there and I’m sure most major leaguers can attest to that. When they go down for the first time or when they’re first sent down when they’re in the big leagues, it’s always a little bit of a letdown. Mentally you go out there and you think you can just go out there and do what you need to do but they swing the bat and they can put you in some tough situations.
Again, Romero is 1-15 with a 7.60 ERA in the majors since last June. His being terrible at Triple-A isn’t about “a letdown” or Triple-A hitters being amazing.
Veteran Omar Infante has spent the overwhelming majority of his career as an infielder, but the Tigers plan to give him some playing time in center field this spring. The Tigers’ center field situation is still murky and adding more versatility would increase Infante’s odds of making the roster.
Infante, 35, signed a minor league deal with the Tigers in December. He played 39 games for the Royals last season, batting .239/.279/.321 in 149 plate appearances while playing second base exclusively. Infante last played in the outfield in 2010 with the Braves, and last played center field specifically in ’09 with the Braves.
The Tigers currently have Mikie Mahtook, Tyler Collins, and JaCoby Jones at the top of their center field depth chart. It is not what one would call “optimal.”
Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun reports that the Orioles are close to acquiring pitcher Vidal Nuno from the Dodgers in exchange for pitcher Ryan Moseley.
Nuno, 29, went to the Dodgers from the Mariners in the Carlos Ruiz trade this past November. He and the Dodgers avoided arbitration last month, agreeing on a $1.125 million salary for the 2017 season. The left-hander finished the 2016 campaign with a 3.53 ERA and a 51/11 K/BB ratio in 58 2/3 innings spanning one start and 54 relief appearances.
Nuno will provide the Orioles starting pitching depth and could serve as a valuable left-handed option out of the bullpen.
Moseley, 22, played his first season of professional baseball in the New York Penn League last year. In 12 relief appearances, he put up a 3.20 ERA and an 18/9 K/BB ratio across 19 2/3 innings. The Orioles selected him in the eighth round of the 2016 draft.