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.
Red Sox catcher Sandy Leon achieved a rare feat during Monday afternoon’s Grapefruit League exhibition against the Orioles: he homered twice in one inning. One of those homers happened to be a grand slam.
Leon led off the top of the fifth inning with a solo home run off of Logan Verrett. Verrett continued to get knocked around, giving up three singles and a walk before being relieved by Brian Moran. Moran gave up a walk to load the bases, then a single to knock in a run and keep the bases loaded. Leon stepped back to the plate and swatted a grand slam to left field, making it an eight-run fifth for the Red Sox. The Sox would tack on one more before the inning was mercifully ended.
How often do players homer twice in one inning during the regular season? Not that often. Since 2010, the feat has been accomplished four times in the American League and twice in the National League. The Orioles’ Mark Trumbo was the only one to do it last year.
As for Leon, he’s on track to open the season as the starting catcher in Boston, Jason Mastrodonato of the Boston Herald reported last week.
The Phillies announced on Monday that the club released veteran catchers Ryan Hanigan and Bryan Holaday. Both were competing for the back-up catcher spot on the team’s 25-man roster. With both out of the picture, that means Andrew Knapp has won that honor.
Knapp, 25, hit a combined .266/.330/.390 with eight home runs and 46 RBI in 443 plate appearances last year at Triple-A Lehigh Valley. He did not have a great spring but has hit well as of late, which likely pushed him ahead of Hanigan and Holaday. Knapp will serve as the understudy to starting catcher Cameron Rupp.