Right-hander Sal Romano has declined an outright assignment to Triple-A Nashville from the Brewers and instead elected free agency, the team announced Friday. Milwaukee had designated him for assignment earlier in the week after just one appearance.
The 27-year-old Romano opened the season with the Reds organization, where he’d spent his entire professional career since being selected in the 23rd round of the 2011 draft. He found himself designated for assignment in early May, however, and went the free-agent route over an outright assignment at that point as well. He’s since made a pair of scoreless appearances with the Yankees (2 1/3 innings) and that lone appearance with the Brewers, during which he yielded three earned runs in an inning of work.
Romano had a solid showing as a rookie back in 2017, pitching to a 4.45 ERA in 87 innings. His 19 percent strikeout rate and 9.6 walk rate were both worse than the league average, but Romano notched a strong 50.4 percent ground-ball rate and generally limited hard contact well. It’s been a struggle for him in the big leagues since that time, however. Romano got a lengthy audition in the Cincinnati rotation the following year but struggled to a 5.48 ERA in 25 starts. On the whole, he’s posted a 5.52 ERA in 187 1/3 innings since that rookie campaign.
Romano does have a fairly solid track record in Triple-A (3.87 ERA in 142 innings), but he’s out of minor league options at this point, which has prompted three DFAs this season from the Reds, Yankees and Brewers. He’ll look for another organization where he can latch on as a depth option for the final weeks of the season. He’s worked primarily as a reliever this year, so he’s not stretched out to serve as a spot starter or long man just yet. He reached 27 pitches in his most recent outing with the Brewers.