The Nationals remain content with keeping only one left-handed reliever in their bullpen, but they bolstered their depth in the area by signing veteran J.C. Romero to a minor league contract. Romero, who caught the Nationals’ eye with his performance for Puerto Rico in the World Baseball Classic, will join the Nationals tomorrow when they face the Mets in Port St. Lucie.
The Nationals informed Romero he will be sent to Class AAA Syracuse at the outset of the regular season, General Manager Mike Rizzo said. Rather than challenge for a spot in the bullpen, he will provide “insurance” behind the Nationals’ established bullpen, Manager Davey Johnson said.
“We’re going to give J.C. and opportunity to see if he can help us,” Rizzo said. “He’s a veteran pitcher. He threw well in the WBC. We’ll see if he can help us at the major league level sometime.”
Romero, 36, had a brief tenure with the Nationals midway through the 2011 season, when he pitched for Class AAA Syracuse for a month before opting out of his contract. The Nationals are one of seven organizations Romero has pitched for over the past two years. Romero pitched 12 major league innings last and allowed 21 hits, four of them home runs.