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Brotherly glove: Romines face off for first time

Mariners utility man Andrew, Yankees catcher Austin relish special opportunity
MLB.com

NEW YORK -- For Yankees catcher Austin Romine, the first chance to start a Major League game against his older brother, Andrew Romine, turned out to be a real punch in the gut.

Or more accurately, a punch in the chest protector, as big bro delivered a friendly shot to his sibling the first time he strode to the plate to lead off the second inning in what turned into a 4-3 win for New York on Thursday as it completed a series sweep at Yankee Stadium.

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NEW YORK -- For Yankees catcher Austin Romine, the first chance to start a Major League game against his older brother, Andrew Romine, turned out to be a real punch in the gut.

Or more accurately, a punch in the chest protector, as big bro delivered a friendly shot to his sibling the first time he strode to the plate to lead off the second inning in what turned into a 4-3 win for New York on Thursday as it completed a series sweep at Yankee Stadium.

View Full Game Coverage

"I told him I'd been waiting 32 years to do that," said Andrew, "but he's not allowed to hit me back because we were on TV."

Though Andrew is a nine-year Major League utility man and Austin is in his seventh season as the Yankees' backup catcher, the two have had very limited playing experience against each other. Outside of a game in 2016, when Andrew was inserted as a pinch-runner for the Tigers while his brother was behind the plate, they'd never been in a game at the same time in a regular-season contest.

But in Thursday's game, both got to start as Andrew filled in when Mariners shortstop Jean Segura was sidelined by an infection in his right arm, while Austin drew his turn as the Yanks' catcher in the series finale.

Video: SEA@NYY: Romine throws out Heredia stealing second

"It was cool," Austin said. "We've been in the big leagues for a while, and we've never had that chance to play against each other. I'd play, he'd sit. I'd sit, he'd play. This was the first time it all lined up. It was something we'll remember. It was really cool."

The brotherly love only went so far, however. Andrew's playing time has been sporadic this season and after a 1-for-4 day, he's hitting .148 in 61 at-bats. He singled in the seventh off reliever David Robertson and would have loved to steal second on his brother, but instead was bunted to second by Dee Gordon.

There wasn't a lot of chatter once the first friendly punch was thrown.

"After that, little bits here or there, but nothing more than any other time somebody is out there," Andrew said. "I talked to him the first time, but after that, it was business. I had to get ready to hit."

Austin went 0-for-4 for the Yankees, dropping his average to .308 in 78 at-bats; he's put up good numbers this year as the backup to Gary Sanchez.

The two grew up in a baseball family, sons of former Red Sox outfielder Kevin Romine, and they played together for one year at Trabuco Hills High in Mission Viejo, Calif., when Andrew was a senior and Austin a freshman, as well as briefly on an Arizona Fall League club.

Both knew this occasion was special, but they kept it in perspective.

"We've got jobs to do, and we both understand that," said Austin. "You take a moment like that first at-bat -- we're joking around a little bit, and then it's time to work. That's how we were brought up. It's a cool situation, but at the end of the day, we're trying to get a job done."

As for taking the punch from his brother?

"That's my big bro, man," Austin said. "He got me pretty good. I was trying to laugh about it. It was fun."

Greg Johns has covered the Mariners since 1997, and for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB.

Bryan Hoch has covered the Yankees for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and on Facebook.

Seattle Mariners, New York Yankees, Austin Romine, Andrew Romine