Austin Romine Banged Up

New York Yankees backup catcher Austin Romine took a four ball off of the bottom of his face mask in the Yankees’ game against the Toronto Blue Jays on Saturday.

Romine seemed alright, just a little rattled initially, and he stayed in the game for a while before being replaced by Kyle Higashioka in the sixth inning.

I don’t understand how Romine was able to stay in the game for any duration after that hit. He looked like all of the wind was knocked out of him and like he should have been taken out immediately. Once he was left in, though, it was surprising for him to exit later. It was a weird set of circumstances.

Of course, starting catcher Gary Sanchez is still on the disabled list with a re-aggravated groin injury. He is expected to play in some rehab games this week, so maybe he can return this coming weekend or early next week. They can’t afford to rush him back too soon, though.

Because of the Sanchez injury, it is critical that Romine’s injury doesn’t lead to a DL stint for himself. Kyle Higashioka started in Sunday’s game and obviously didn’t cost them anything, but if he hypothetically got hurt, too, then I really don’t know what the next option would be.

Ronald Torreyes is the designated “emergency catcher” so I suppose that would designate an emergency. Would they call up another guy to be a backup to Higashioka? I really don’t know who that would be. They drafted multiple catchers in this year’s draft, but they are still at least two or three years from being considerations for the 40-man roster, at best. The other catchers in the system are not regarded as MLB talents.

After Toe, the next guys would be, what, Neil Walker then Greg Bird? Probably those two in that order. They were each originally drafted as catchers before moving away from the position in the minor leagues.

The point here is, if Romine is forced to miss beyond, say this upcoming two-game set with the Miami Marlins, the Yankees are pretty properly screwed, with no return day quite in sight for Sanchez and Higashioka not being an adequate backup, let alone a starter.

Let’s not forget the Romine has had a really nice year. The 29-year-old is slashing .260/.306/.448 (102 wRC+) with 8 homers in a very weak offensive catcher class in the American League. He has also come into his own as an adequate defender, throwing out his fair share of runners in recent history. Gary Sanchez is better at both offense and defense by just about every metric, but Romine has not been a liability at either, despite being exposed a bit as sample sizes have increased.

The Yankees need both Sanchez and Romine healthy in order to win games. They have the depth to make up for just about other position if the first two options were to be injured, but not at catcher. Get them healthy, and hopefully Romine is not concussed.


Featured Image via Flickr/Arturo Pardavila III

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