PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — The Washington Nationals’ newest left-handed relief candidate was in the clubhouse bright and early at Space Coast Stadium Saturday morning, ready to hop on the bus and make the trip south to Port St. Lucie to play the New York Mets.
J.C. Romero, fresh off Puerto Rico’s championship loss to the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic, was happy to be in Nationals camp on Saturday and said he’s ready to help his new team in any way he can.
“I just have one goal in mind,” said Romero, who won a 2008 World Series ring with the Philadelphia Phillies. “That’s to come over here and contribute in any way I can and help this team try to reach their main goal, which is to take it all the way to the World Series. That’s my goal right now. I’m not trying to jump the gun, but I’m just trying to prepare myself to help the team.”
It is highly unlikely that Romero will make the Nationals’ Opening Day 25-man roster. That much has been made clear to him by general manager Mike Rizzo and the organization, and Romero understands he may have to go to Triple-A and perform well enough to earn a call-up.
Finally feeling like his mind has moved past a 2009 surgery to repair a flexor tendon, Romero understood that all he has to do is perform up to his capabilities for the Nationals to call on the left-hander.
Romero, 36, admitted that while his arm has been healed for some time, it took him a long time to mentally trust his body again.
“Now I feel like I’m good and I’m where I need to be mentally,” he said. “I’m ready to compete… I’m going to do my job. Whatever happens, happens. That’s God’s will. I just want to really do what I’m capable of doing and, if I’m good enough, I’m pretty sure they would not hesitate to call me up or do whatever. I know this is a business and they’ve got to make business decisions.
“If I’m ready, I’m ready. If I’m not, I’ve got to take my time and I’ll be ready when I feel comfortable.”