Lefthander J.C. Romero, traded by the Twins yesterday to the Angels, seems pleased to be leaving the Twin Cities. If his manager’s comments are anything to go, the feeling is mutual. From the Minneapolis Star-Tribune’s La Velle E. Neal III.
Romero, 29, was 9-2 with a 1.89 ERA in 2002 but has struggled recently. He was 4-3, 3.47 ERA last season with 39 walks in 57 innings. The team only trusted him against lefthanded hitters, and he got into arguments at various times with pitching coach Rick Anderson, bench coach Steve Liddle and manager Ron Gardenhire.
Things boiled over on Sept. 28, when Gardenhire went to the mound to remove Romero after two of his 10 pitches hit Kansas City batters. Romero walked off the mound before Gardenhire got there, and the manager glared at Romero as he walked away. Romero then got into an argument with Liddle, which Gardenhire soon joined.
Romero and Gardenhire (above) had a lengthy discussion the following day, but Romero said he never cleared the air with Liddle. He said the lack of communication is a reason he was unhappy.
“When you feel disrespected, and feel you can’t do anything about it, that’s when you get frustrated,” Romero said. “You have to move on. If you don’t move on, you’re going to be a mediocre pitcher and a mediocre person.”
Gardenhire scoffed at Romero’s claim that he was disrespected.
“That’s bull,” Gardenhire said. “If he wasn’t being respected how did he get a two-year contract? Give me a break. Those are the things that get to you.
“I like J.C., but his mannerisms on the mound never changed. J.C. helped us get through a lot of things but it is time for a change here. If he feels like he didn’t get respect here he should move on.”
Utility man Lou Merloni, who missed almost all of 2005 after tearing ligaments in his right foot last May 1, has signed a minor league deal with Cleveland. The Framingham, MA neighbor played alongside Ron Mahay, Pork Chop Pough and a pricey Georgia Tech alumnus named Nomar Garciaparra on the 1995 Trenton Thunder squad that won the Eastern League’s Southern Division (managed by Ken Macha), along with the ’96 team featuring Carl Pavano.
Merloni’s resume also includes a rather ridiculous public feud with Ben Affleck.