Romero's return gets Phils' bullpen in line
Southpaw gives Manuel solid option vs. lefty in late innings
SAN DIEGO -- The Philadelphia Phillies bullpen had a new look Wednesday that looked very much like the old one, as left-hander J.C. Romero returned from his 50-game suspension for violating Major League Baseball's policy against performance-enhancing substances.Manager Charlie Manuel was eager to get Romero back into the swing of things. "When [Romero] falls back into what we call 'his role,'" Manuel said, "he will be matched together with Ryan Madson and what they do is kind of stabilize the seventh and eighth inning for us. "If you look up and you see a lineup and there are two or three right-handers in a row, well, that's Madson, and if it's two or three lefties, then it's J.C. Or if we get to the eighth inning and haven't used either one of them, then we have a chance to match them up in the eighth to get to [closer Brad] Lidge. "If you followed us down through the playoffs and World Series, that was kind of how we worked it. And it felt pretty good for us. Our rotation not only felt good for us, but our back end of the bullpen matched up good and things worked out well. "J.C. is real good on getting lefties out. He can get the ball up close to him and get the ball in on him. He's good at that, his style and release point and everything. Plus, he has that fastball that gets in on him." Manuel was asked if he was pleased with the work of his bullpen so far this season. "I think our bullpen did fine without J.C. up until this point," said Manuel. "I felt like Scott Eyre did a tremendous job for us. I was concerned at the start of the season because with Eyre that limited us to just one lefty in the 'pen. Of course, then we picked up [Jack] Taschner. But Scott Eyre, as far as matching up with situations, did a tremendous job." Eyre, 37 and a veteran of 13 Major League seasons, has posted an 0-1 record with a 2.84 ERA in 12 2/3 innings. Manuel said that Taschner could give the Phillies a couple of innings, but that has not been his makeup in the Majors.
"We will use him early," Manuel said. "And also we can put him on left-handed hitters in the middle of the game."In his Minor League stints, Romero threw 7 2/3 innings for Class-A Lakewood, Double-A Reading and Triple-A Lehigh Valley. He allowed two earned runs (2.35 ERA) on five hits, struck out seven and walked two.
Sandy Burgin is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.