Washington Nationals’ manager Davey Martinez told reporters earlier this afternoon that they had received unfortunate news on 24-year-old reliever Seth Romero, who made his MLB debut earlier this month, but fell down stairs the other night and broke his right (non-pitching hand).
“Seth the other day, slipped on the steps — and not to put his pitching hand down to brace himself, he decided to just put his right hand down and came in the next day with his hand completely swollen,” Martinez explained.
“He didn’t think much of it, but it was broken. We decided to just put him on the IL.
“I still haven’t heard what’s going to happen, we’ll talk to the doctors but yeah, he does have a broken right hand, so that’s his glove hand, which is not great news, but it’s better news than his pitching hand.”
In order to replace Romero on the roster, and get another left-hander in the bullpen, the club recalled 26-year-old southpaw Ben Braymer, a 2016 18th Round pick out of Auburn, who’s been working out at the Nationals’ Alternate Training Site in Fredericksburg, VA as part of the 60-Man Player Pool for the 2020 MLB season.
Braymer split the 2019 season between Double-A and Triple-A in the Nationals’ system, with a combined 4.53 ERA, 56 walks, and 116 Ks in 26 starts (13 with each club) and 139 innings.
“He was throwing the ball well,” Martinez said of Braymer, who was added to the Nationals’ 40-Man roster this past winter to protect him from selection in the 2019 Rule 5 Draft.
“We need a left-handed pitcher in the bullpen. He’s a starter, he’s been stretched out, he gives us an opportunity to actually use us as a long man as well, so he’s been up to — he threw five innings the other day, so hopefully he gets an opportunity to come up here and pitch in the big leagues.”
“I like his stuff,” Martinez added. “He’s got a good fastball, can sink it, can cut it, he’s got a good slider and a good changeup.
“He’s going to get an opportunity to come up here and get an opportunity to pitch.
“We need everybody in that bullpen, so I’m looking forward to watching him pitch here.”
BONUS QUOTE: “He’s got a lot of funk and is deceptive with his mix of pitches and how he changes speeds. He gets a lot of guys off balance and has really been dialed in on moving the ball around in his outings at the alternate site,” pitching prospect Jackson Rutledge wrote to Federal Baseball last week about Braymer.
As for Romero, who had Tommy John surgery in 2018, and returned to the mound last year and got an opportunity to make his MLB debut earlier this month in NY, it’s an unfortunate setback.
“It’s unfortunate,” the manager said. “I feel bad for the kid because he worked diligently to get here, and he’s still young. Like I said, he’s a big part of our future. He had the Tommy John and he worked really hard to get back and he was doing well. Hopefully this is just a minor setback for him and as soon as he heals we’ll get him back here.”
Martinez said he talked to Romero briefly and assured him that he had done well in his brief time with the team, and he is, as the skipper said, a big part of the future in D.C.
“I just told I said, ‘Hey, in a short period of time, you’ve done really well, and I’ve got to reiterate that you’re a big part of what we’re doing here in our future. So this is just a minor setback for you.’ We’re going to keep him going, once we figure out what the next steps are, whether he gets a cast, I’ll know more here by the end of the day. But if he can throw down there, then we’re going to have him keep throwing and keep doing his running program, everything he needs to do to keep his arm ready to go so that when he’s able to put his glove on and able to squeeze his glove, and we deem him ready that he can possible play as soon as possible.”