Orioles sign Romero (Phillips on DL)

The Orioles just announced that they signed veteran left-handed reliever J.C. Romero to a minor league contract and assigned him to Triple-A Norfolk.

romero-sidebar-cards.jpgRomero, 35, appeared in 11 games with the Cardinals this season and posted a 10.13 ERA before being released. He allowed nine runs and 14 hits in eight innings.

Romero has pitched for six major league teams in 14 years, going 34-28 with a 4.15 ERA.

Executive vice president Dan Duquette is seeking to improve the pitching depth in the organization. I guess Romero qualifies.

If my to-do list today included “Write about J.C. Romero in the parking lot of a grocery store,” I could now cross it off.

Update: Left-handed batters are hitting .218 against Romero, so that’s part of his appeal to the Orioles, though they keep insisting that they don’t have the luxury of carrying a specialist in their bullpen.

Romero was the winning pitcher for the Phillies in Game 5 of the 2008 World Series, which clinched the first major championship in Philadelphia in 25 years. He also won Game 3, making him the first Puerto Rican pitcher to win two games in the same World Series.

Romero, who turns 36 on June 4, was banned 50 games at the start of the 2009 season for testing positive for androstenedione, a performance-enhancing drug.

Check this out: The independent Long Island Ducks signed former Orioles closer Armando Benitez, according to Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com. Benitez, 39, last appeared in the majors with the Blue Jays in 2008.

Update II: Now we know how the Orioles are making room for Romero at Norfolk. Left-hander Zach Phillips has been placed on the disabled list, retroactive to May 20, with a left shoulder impingement.

Phillips has posted a 3.44 ERA in 12 games, with 20 hits, six walks and 13 strikeouts in 18 1/3 innings.

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