From Big Sal to svelte Sal.
As Sal Romano made his way into the 2019 Reds caravan in Lima it was evident the tall right-hander had definitely shed some of the 270-pounds he was listed at last season.
A 6-foot-5, Romano still is an imposing figure but he has let lose some extra weight to prepare for the upcoming season.
Romano, like Reds fans, has seen the moves the Reds have made in the off season to bolster the inconsistent pitching staff that has plagued the Reds the last four years. Romano, who had his shot in the past two season to prove himself, bounced from being a starter to bullpen in 2018.
Romano opened the year as the starter and in 19 starts had an ERA of 5.53. He was moved to the bullpen when Homer Bailey returned but with that turning out to be a bust Romano returned to the starting rotation.
For the season, Romano finished 8-11 with a 5.31 ERA. He had 105 strikes out in a 145.2 innings of work.
With new arms like Alex Wood and Tanner Roark added to the Reds and another trade in the works for a veteran arm, Romano understands the battle for a spotting spot or even a role in the bullpen will be competitive and that is the reason for the weight loss.
“I am going into spring training trying to make the team, regardless of what I need to do,” Romano said. “That is not up to me. I am in the best shape of my life, honestly, I have lost 20 pounds this off season.”
Romano added that in addition to the slimming down he has worked on his mechanics and he is going to go into spring training with a positive attitude.
Romano sees an opportunity to show what he is capable of and thinks he can contribute and the 25-year-old has learned in his two years at the major league level.
“I’ve pitched against the best and some of the best hitters in the league,” Romano said. “I know what to expect and there is a lot of things I can work on and I am starting to realize that.”
Romano admits he has not gotten the job done to the best of his abilities and is looking to turn it around in a big transition year for him.
During the off season, Romano has met with newly hired manager David Bell and is impressed with his attitude and approach.
“”David is a really good guy. Obviously a big baseball guy,” Romano said. “He is a ‘Bell.’ The guys that he brought in shows a lot about the type of guy he is and what he is trying to do.”
Romano said Bell told him he is going to get the opportunity to start but at this point he is more concerned at showing what he can do when his number is called.