Slumping Romine takes a seat
TRENTON — Austin Romine had an ideal opportunity to get himself right against New Britain right-hander Mike McCardell, who took the mound tonight at Waterfront Park with a 0-11 record and an equally unsightly 5.65 ERA.
McCardell then proceeded to give up four runs on five hits in the first inning.
Romine, the Yankees’ top prospect at Double-A, will have to wait until at least tomorrow to begin shaking a hellacious slump that has dropped his batting average 50 points since June 1 after Thunder manager Tony Franklin sat his prized catcher for the second consecutive game.
“There’s more in there and that’s what he told him,’’ Franklin said of Romine, who is hitting just .212 since the All-Star break and .190 with three extra-base hits and five runs batted in over the last 10 games. “There’s more there. He expects more from himself, we expect more from him and the organization expects more from him. We’re going to let him get a couple of days (off) and then go back at it. Don’t get me wrong _ we are not punishing him. We are not unhappy with him. We think he is putting a pretty good season together, but from time to time and particularly at this point in the year there is a time to step back and start the engines over.’’
Romine last week expressed his displeasure with the batter’s eye to the left of center field at Waterfront Park and bluntly stated he hated hitting at home, where his average is a paltry .205.
But Romine, 21, proceeded to struggle in both Richmond (1-for-7) and Altoona (3-for-13) and his overall average dipped to .276 overall and .244 with runners in scoring position.
Last season, Romine split time at Class-A Tampa with top prospect Jesus Montero before the Yankees sent Montero to Trenton.
Romine caught 54 games in 2008, 80 in 2009 and will handle his 70th game when Franklin puts him back into the lineup, which could be as early as tomorrow’s 12:05 matinee against a Rock Cats team on pace to lose 95 games.
“(Franklin) asked me if I was tired and I said I was fine … but I always want to play,’’ Romine said. “I don’t like sitting and I have never asked for a day off in my career. But he thought this was the best thing and he’s the manager so whatever he says, goes.’’
Told Franklin and the Yankees are expecting more from him, Romine was asked if he was meeting his own expectations.
The son of former big leaguer Kevin Romine and the Yankees second-round pick in the 2007 draft has six home runs, 49 RBIs and a pedestrian .755 OPS. He also has thrown out just 18-percent of would-be base-stealers.
Romine threw runners out at a 30-percent clip last season.
“I started out the way I wanted to, but I’ve hit a rut here,’’ Romine said. “I feel like I am calling a good game and handling the staff pretty well. I actually feel better now than I did last year at this time. Physically, I feel really good about where I am. I’ll just take this time and get done what I need to get done and keep fresh for when I get back in there.’’