Uncertainty about JoJo Romero’s injury leaves more questions for the Phillies’ bullpen
During Spring Training, the Philadelphia Phillies decided to not retain veteran lefty Tony Watson for $3 million. The decision was a gamble on LHP JoJo Romero to become the Phillies’ bullpen’s second lefty behind José Alvarado. Romero made his MLB debut last year with the Phillies and was excited to take on a full-time role as a reliever heading into the 2021 season. Watson, for the record, has a 0.82 ERA in 11 innings with six strikeouts and one walk. He has stranded seven of eight inherited runners.
Romero pitched back-to-back games last week against Milwaukee, with his four-seam fastball averaging 96.4 mph on May 4th, and then 94.4 mph on May 5th. The following day, Romero was sent to the injury list with a sprained elbow. The Phillies ordered various tests on Romero’s left elbow last week, but have yet to release any specifics on the results. Girardi stated earlier this week that “JoJo still has not decided” and that the Phillies would have to “wait and see what happens.” Girardi would not comment if surgery was a possible outcome.
At only 24-years old, Romero still has time to develop. Looking ahead, the Phillies now have yet another hole in the bullpen that needs to be plugged if Romero goes down for a significant amount of time. The Phillies have promoted Range Suárez as the second lefty in the bullpen. Suárez recorded two key outs in the Phillies’ comeback win against the Washington Nationals on Wednesday.
The Phillies are on record in saying that they prefer to have Suárez serve as rotation depth. He was a part of the starting rotation in Lehigh Valley and the Phillies will likely want to keep him there given the uncertainty of depth in that part of their pitching as well.
Keep an eye on Damon Jones, who has recently transitioned into a bullpen role for the 2021 season in the minor leagues. Jones is a hard throwing lefty that has struck out five and walked one in 3 1/3 scoreless innings for the IronPigs in the early goings of the minor league season. It’s likely that Jones will be the next call up on the depth chart for the Phillies.
Mandatory Credit: AP SPORTS