We originally mentioned this last June, but now J.C. Romero is being sued by the fan who accused him of assault.
Robert Eaton, 26, has filed a lawsuit claiming that Romero caused him “serious and permanent injury” by allegedly hitting him in the neck when he was asking for an autograph. Eaton recalls getting the pitcher’s attention by saying, “How about you get me some juice?” Of course, Romero served a 50-game suspension for violating MLB’s performance-enhancing drug policy, so it’s possible he didn’t take too kindly to the joke, but charges were never pursued on the Phillies left-hander because of conflicting reports from witnesses.
Eaton, who said the assault left him with three herniated disks in his neck, is seeking in excess of $15,000 in damages.
On the pitching side of things, Romero is working his way back from offseason surgery on his elbow. He has yet to face live hitters, leaving the chances of him being ready for the start of the season in doubt.
The Reds have sent second baseman Scooter Gennett in for an MRI exam after he was forced to make an early departure from Friday’s 6-4 loss to the Brewers. The exact nature of the injury has yet to be reported, but starting pitcher Robert Stephenson said Gennett may have hurt himself after he “rolled weird” while trying to rein in a ground ball. He appeared to be grabbing at his right thigh/groin area immediately afterward and was helped off the field.
Following the incident, the 28-year-old was swiftly replaced by veteran infielder Carlos Rivero, who went hitless as he finished out the game. Though Gennett went 0-for-1 in his lone at-bat on Friday, he’s been tearing through the Cactus League competition this spring with a .351/.405/.486 batting line in 42 plate appearances so far.
The extent of Gennett’s injuries have not been disclosed — and may still be unknown to the team as well — but any significant setback would undoubtedly throw a wrench in the Reds’ plans this season, as he was the presumed starter at the keystone after turning in his first All-Star worthy performance in 2018. Although they have a promising alternative in top infield/outfield prospect Nick Senzel, the 23-year-old has not seen any time at second base this year and was recently reassigned to Triple-A Louisville to start the 2019 season.