The combination of injuries (Sam Freeman, Roenis Elías), ineffectiveness (Sean Doolittle), and a dash of COVID-19 (Fernando Abad) changed the adjective from beleaguered to major-leaguer as LHP Seth Romero was added to the 28-man roster today.
The #11 (MLBP)/#13 (BA) prospect had never pitched above Low-A and hadn’t pitched in a professional game in nearly two years (Aug. 16, 2018), thanks to a case of Nationals elbow and the cancellation of the 2020 minor-league seasons.
Romero’s first pitch came at 2:59 p.m. – about 81 minutes earlier than one would’ve guessed – and started with a strikeout to Billy Hamilton. A second strikeout came later in the inning, albeit after a pair of singles.
But a walk loaded the bases, and an 0-2 mistake was deposited into the LF tarp at [No Free Advertising] Field for a grand slam to turn a 3-1 hole into a 7-1 canyon. A 4-3 groundout ended the inning, and it appeared that Romero might have been done for the afternoon.
Instead, he was sent out for a second inning of work and was no less of a LaLoosh: two more walks, two more strikeouts. Wander Suero was brought on to end the threat and got out of the frame with a popup that nearly turned into an injury, as Asdrubal Cabrera nearly tumbled into the Mets dugout while making the catch (with an assist from ex-Nat Brian Dozier, who kept Cabrera from taking a header into the concrete).
The final line for Romero: 1⅔ IP, 3H, 4R, 4ER, 3BB, 4K on 43 pitches, 28 for strikes.
The good news is that Romero’s velocity was in the 90s and appeared to be in a shape other than round. The bad news is that his control was, to be kind, spotty. This is no doubt a byproduct of the butterflies and anxiety, as the 24-y.o. was perspiring like an escort in a house of worship (*ahem*).