CLEVELAND — The Indians made a move to secure potential relief assistance Saturday, signing veteran right-hander J.C. Romero to a minor league contract.
The 36-year-old Romero, who has pitched for five teams over an 11-year career, will report to Triple-A Columbus.
A staple of the Twins’ bullpen from 2002-05, Romero began the year as an offseason acquisition of the Cardinals, who released him after he posted a 10.13 ERA in 11 appearances.
Baltimore signed Romero, but he never appeared on the big league level for the Orioles, who released him after he went 1-0 with a 2.51 ERA in 17 games for their Triple-A affiliate, Norfolk.
Romero is not far removed from being an effective big league reliever. He posted a 3.68 ERA in 60 games for Philadelphia in 2010.
Included in Romero’s contract with the Indians is an opt-out clause if he is not promoted to the big leagues by Aug. 15.
Cleveland general manager Chris Antonetti said the addition of Roberto Hernandez should not affect the Indians’ quest to acquire a player or players as the July 31 trading deadline approaches.
“I don’t think it has too much of an impact,” he said. “Obviously you can never have too much pitching, so we look at it as an opportunity to add another very talented pitcher to our major league team, but I don’t think it will limit our search as we try to improve our team as we approach the deadline.”
The Indians are reportedly in search of a right-handed bat, but have been named as interested suitors for starting pitch help as well.
On the verge
Reliever Rafael Perez (strained left lat) is scheduled to pitch two innings in a rehab assignment for Double-A Akron today.
The left-hander could leave the disabled list shortly after, but Acta said the Indians might want to see Perez pitch on consecutive days before activating him.
Acta was asked how Perez’s velocity has looked after not pitching since early April.
“It’s in the mid-80s, but he throws a lot of sliders and change-ups and relies a lot on movement, so it’s not like he’s going out there throwing four-seamers to see how hard he can throw,” Acta said. “The main thing for him is being healthy and getting people out. As long as he feels good, we’re good with it.”
When he is activated, Perez is expected to take the roster spot of right-hander Cody Allen, who made his big league debut Friday.
Of Jim Thome’s 610 career home runs through Friday, 189 (31 percent) have come at Jacobs/Progressive Field. Cleveland’s franchise leader in the department (337) entered Saturday with 21 homers against the Indians. … Former Ohio State running back and Lorain Admiral King product Raymont “Quiet Storm” Harris was in attendance. … Today, 3:05, STO/WTAM 1100-AM. Tomlin (5-6, 5.51) vs. Britton (0-0, 9.00).
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