Home run has indeed helped spur turnaround for Andrew Romine's bat
DETROIT — The minute Andrew Romine hit his first career home run Friday night, ending an 0-for-28 streak, manager Brad Ausmus hoped aloud that it portended good things for the Tigers shortstop.
He was right.
Romine went 2-for-4 with a couple singles in Saturday’s game, then — after spending 10 minutes or so working with hitting coach Wally Joyner after the contest — added an RBI single in his first at-bat Sunday, giving him four hits in the span of seven at-bats.
It had taken 13 games before that to collect four hits.
“It’s funny, because I know he was working with Wally after the game. So, despite the fact that he had some good at-bats, there was something he felt was not quite right. He just took about 10 minutes to fine-tune something,” Ausmus said Sunday morning.
“He certainly looked a lot more comfortable at the plate, whether it was psychological, physical, I couldn’t tell you. But I was hoping that maybe that home run would be the start of something good, and it looks like it’s headed in that direction, and I hope it continues.”
While it’s a good sign that Romine is bringing his bat around, it’s just as important that he never let his struggles at the plate impact his play in the field.
“Those are two different things to me,” he said. “Being at the plate, once I’m not at the plate, I’m not a hitter anymore, I’m a fielder — or I’m a runner, if I put the ball in play. To me, there’s no comparison to them. They don’t carry over to me. Going out and playing defense is what I’m here for.”
That’s what his manager expected out of a guy who — despite just 70 career big-league starts — has been around the block, playing in 700 minor-league contests.
“Really young players are the ones you see that happen to,” Ausmus said. He’s been around enough, and he plays a premium position, defensively, so I think he’s learned coming up through the minors, and these short stints in the big leagues that taking your offense to shortstop with you is not going to help you stick around.”