Yesterday afternoon, at around 1 p.m., Austin Romine had no idea whether he was going to make his first big league start against the Mariners, and he wouldn’t find out for another three or four hours. But he got to Safeco Field just in case.
“I was the first guy on the bus,” he said. “Me and Hector Noesi. I wanted to make sure I was the first guy here… I didn’t know if I was starting or not, but I wanted to be prepared. I hadn’t hit in a week, hadn’t thrown a ball since — well, yesterday — but I hadn’t thrown since six days from then. I wanted to get here and get everything out of the way.
“I got in the cage with K-Long and hit a little bit, then I was in the video room for two or three hours. I just wanted to make sure, if I was starting, if I was going to get in, I didn’t want to make a mistake. I wanted to know how to pitch every single batter.”
He’s been in the big leagues less than 48 hours, but Romine seems to be making a quick impression on the coaches and players around him.
“Crash course for him,” Joe Girardi said. “For a 22-year-old, really impressive. There aren’t many 22-year-old catchers that are in the big leagues. He’s been real impressive… I think the hardest thing for young players is to slow the game down, and he’s been able to do that because he’s been able to follow the plan.”
Said Phil Hughes: “He’s really good back there. I’ve had him a couple of times in spring training, a couple of times in rehab starts. He’s very advanced behind the plate. Calls a good game, gives a real good target and it was nice to see him get his first Major League hit, too.”
He’s barely played above Double-A, so it’s hard to handicap Romine’s chances of sticking around and winning a bench job in October, but the Yankees seem to like him and trust him. He certainly doesn’t seem to be out of the mix.
“I felt like I was ready for it,” he said. “Nothing really caught me off guard. These guys really helped me out, what to expect, where to go, what to do… It really hasn’t processed. I kind of don’t want it to because it keeps me going.”