By KEVIN ROBERTS
“Waitin on my moment,” read a tweet from former Southington baseball standout Sal Romano on July 19.
Romano had been pitching well of late with the Louisville Bats, the Triple-A affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds. He won his last two outings, including a start against the Pawtucket Red Sox on July 18 in Rhode Island where he struck out 10 batters in five innings.
Romano’s “moment” came on Monday, when he was recalled to the Cincinnati Reds from the Triple-A Louisville Bats. The former Southington High School star will pitch out of the bullpen.
“I’m in a very good mindset right now. I’m very happy with where I’m at on all parts of my game,” Romano told Mark Sheldon, who covers the Reds for MLB.com. “I’m happy to be here with these guys. I missed them all year. I’m happy to be able to come here and contribute, hopefully in a positive way.”
Romano credited the work put in by Lousiville pitching coach Jeff Fassero, a former major leaguer himself with the Montreal Expos, Seattle Mariners, Texas Rangers, Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs, St. Louis Cardinals, Colorado Rockies, Arizona Diamondbacks and San Francisco Giants. Romano added a split-finger fastball to his arsenal and worked on his curveball, according to Sheldon’s story. Romano now throws a sinker, slider, curveball and split-finger fastball.
Romano struggled in the Louisville bullpen, but picked it up once he was put into a starting spot. Romano threw 17 innings in July for the Bats, going 2-0 with 24 strikeouts and an ERA of 1.59. Reds manager David Bell said that the organization retained its faith in Romano despite concerns about his struggles in the bullpen.
“We have to make sure he believes in himself no matter what role he is going to be used out of here, and he will,” Bell told Sheldon.
Romano was in spring training with the Reds, but was sent to the Bats to begin the season. He has been there all season, until the Reds called him up. In Louisville, Romano pitched in 35 games, including three starts. He had a 4-7 record with a 4.70 ERA. Romano struck out 64, walked 24 and hit three batters over 59.1 innings.
Romano’s 2019 debut for the Reds will be his first game in the major leagues since Sept. 30, 2018, against the Pittsburgh Pirates at the Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati.
The Reds were on the road in Milwaukee for three games against the Brewers at Miller Park to begin the week. After an off day on Thursday, Cincinnati is home for a three-game series against the Colorado Rockies starting on Friday.
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Kevin Roberts, email him at KRoberts@SouthingtonObserver.com