CHICAGO – Sergio Romo saw a familiar face as he made his initial trip through the Twins clubhouse Sunday.
“I was like, hey AD, last time we were together was 2014, you know what happened that time, you know what I’m saying?” Romo said.
Romo was pointing to his ring finger. Ehire Adrianza played 53 games for San Francisco in 2014 when the Giants won the World Series.
“I wouldn’t mind repeating that again,” Romo said.
Romo also has played with C.J. Cron and knew Twins manager Rocco Baldelli from his 2017 and ’18 seasons with Tampa Bay. But now he is with the Twins, who need him to help strengthen their bullpen. And Romo, who won three World Series titles with San Francisco, is ready to do his part after spending more than half of the 2019 season with the last-place Miami Marlins.
That’s why he was so eager to join his new team. Instead of waiting in Miami for his new team to arrive for a series that begins Tuesday, Romo, 36, hopped on the first thing smoking toward Chicago.
“Got to bed about 2 o’clock Eastern time,” he said. “Was at the airport by 5. On a plane at 6. Landed in Atlanta. Waited about an hour. That was cool. Then I flew here and now I’m here.”
The Twins designated righthander Carlos Torres for assignment — he never appeared in three games with the team — to make room for Romo. One game in Chicago, then it’s back to Miami. Seems unnecessary.
“There’s no waiting,” Romo said. “This is Major League Baseball and we’re in the second half and we’re really trying to make a playoff push, so I’ve got to be here. You know what I mean? They’re trying to get me to come in and help out, so the sooner the better, you know? I noticed that they lost yesterday and the lead went down to one. Yeah, we can’t keep letting that happen, so we’ve got to try to win, so all hands on deck.
“That’s kind of why I was so excited and happy to be on a 6 a.m. flight for a 1 p.m. game. I’m glad I made it. I’m here.”
Romo always has brought a different look to the bullpen, especially those with power arms. His average fastball this season is 86.5 miles per hour, below his career average of 87.8. He has thrived with a slider-changeup combination that continues to miss barrels. He throws his slider 57.8% of the time.
“If you were drawing things up, it wouldn’t look exactly like that. He’s got his own set of mechanics,” Baldelli said. “He has a unique pitch that I don’t know anyone else in baseball has one that resembles it, but it’s effective and it works and probably the fact that it’s a little bit different than anybody else is what gives it a lot of its effectiveness.”
Romo, 2-0 with a 3.58 ERA and 17 saves with the Marlins this season, is averaging 7.88 strikeouts per nine innings, which would be a career low. But his line-drive percentage of 18.2 would be his lowest since 2016 with the Giants. His hard-hit percentage of 26.4 was 14th best in MLB entering Sunday.
He is more savant than flamethrower. And he joins Nelson Cruz and Marwin Gonzalez as Twins who have appeared in a World Series. Romo can help in many ways, as he spent Sunday getting a feel for his new team.
‘’I’m really excited to be around some people I know, but I’m excited to be in an atmosphere that’s really, really expected to make some noise,” Romo said. “I mean, they call it the BombaSquad. I don’t hit bombs, but I’ll cheer them when they do it and I’ll do my best to stop them, so we’ll see how far this Twin ride goes.”