Romo returns to where it all started, will retire a Giant

Reliever instrumental in three World Series runs, saved decisive game in 2012 Fall Classic

March 16th, 2023

PEORIA, Ariz. -- On Friday afternoon, a familiar face and his trademark beard is set to (re)join Giants camp in Scottsdale.

For the first time since 2016, will have a locker in the home clubhouse at Scottsdale Stadium.

The 40-year-old right-hander is set to sign a Minor League contract with an invite to Major League camp with San Francisco as a sentimental gesture before retiring as a Giant, The Athletic’s Andrew Baggarly reported on Thursday.

“I’m really happy about it, I’m excited,” said manager Gabe Kapler, who texted with Romo on Thursday morning before the Giants' 0-0 tie with the Mariners. “Sergio’s got a great energy and general vibe and a really good outlook on what this is to be."

As he prepares to put a bow on an illustrious 15-year career, Romo will return to the place where it all started. Selected by the Giants in the 28th round of the 2005 MLB Draft, Romo made his Major League debut with the club on June 26, 2008, and spent his next nine seasons with San Francisco.

A member of the 2010, ‘12 and ‘14 World Series teams, Romo was a key part of the core group that helped San Francisco go on one of the franchise’s most successful runs.

In 27 postseason games with the Giants, Romo pitched to a 3.09 ERA over 23 1/3 innings with four saves -- the most memorable coming in Game 4 of the 2012 World Series. On the verge of sweeping the Tigers, Romo struck out Miguel Cabrera looking with two outs in the 10th inning to secure the championship.

Whether it be his on-field success or the off-the-field antics, including his famous dugout “photobombs,” Romo retiring a Giant “feels right,” said Kapler.

“Super grateful, any time you have a player coming in [and] feeling like he’s been given a good opportunity to close the book on what has been a phenomenal career, just kind of feels right, to be honest,” Kapler said. “Feels like the right thing to do, and we’re excited to have him around. And he’s super pumped to be here.”

For the first time since 2016, Romo will have the opportunity to suit up and pitch for the Giants. Once he arrives, the plan is for Romo to ramp up and get into at least a couple of exhibition games, including a final chance to play in front of the home crowd in San Francisco’s March 27 spring finale against the A’s at Oracle Park, Romo told Baggarly.

Romo last pitched professionally on July 14, 2022, as a member of the Blue Jays, before he was designated for assignment. Toronto marked Romo’s eighth and final team, having made stops in Minnesota (two years), Tampa Bay (two years), Oakland (one year), Los Angeles Dodgers (one year), Seattle (one year) and Miami (one year).

From 2008-22, the three-time World Series champion pitched to a career 3.21 ERA over 722 2/3 innings, with a lone All-Star selection coming with the Giants in ‘13.

“He’s a really successful pitcher, not that long ago,” Kapler said. “So it wouldn’t surprise me at all to see him get in a game and be OK. So that’s kind of fun, too.”

So what happens if Romo arrives and shows that he still has something left in the tank?

“Cross that bridge when we come to it, I guess,” Kapler said with a laugh.

“I think we all see this the same way … This is a cool opportunity to close a chapter on a great career and give him some spotlight that he deserves and let him retire as a Giant."