Before Spring Training, many fans expected Austin Romine to challenge Francisco Cervelli for the Yankees backup catcher’s job. It was quickly evident that this wouldn’t be the case, and Romine was considered to be a lock to start for the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees behind the plate. Then, he went down with a back injury in Spring Training and hasn’t really been heard from since.
Until today, that is, when Romine used his Twitter account to announce that he’s back, and has been cleared to resume baseball activities. It stands to reason that he’ll need a month to work back into shape, but it’s likely that Romine could be behind the plate for the Yankees Triple-A affiliate by the 4th of July. If Romine gets off to a hot start when he returns, it’s possible you could see him in pinstripes as a September call-up again — and it’s entirely possible that he could immediately become the most successful of the Yankees catchers.
How Romine fares with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre upon his return will go a long way towards dictating the future of Russell Martin also. With the former All-Star’s contract set to expire at the season’s end, the Yankees have a decision to make — go with Martin, who has been largely ineffective this year, and groom Gary Sanchez to take over in three years or so, or take a chance with Romine and sign a veteran backup. So now that he’s cleared to resume activities, it’s Romine’s job to earn for 2013.