Romine OK after foul tip off mask, but will sit
Concussion tests normal, but Yankees will monitor catcher for a few days
NEW YORK -- Already without everyday backstop Gary Sanchez, the Yankees' catching depth took another hit in Saturday afternoon's 11-6 win over the Blue Jays when Austin Romine was removed from the game after being struck in the mask by a foul ball. Though Romine passed concussion tests after exiting, the club will continue to monitor him throughout the weekend, according to Yankees manager Aaron Boone.
Boone said Romine will not play in Sunday's series finale against the Blue Jays, despite what he described as a clean bill of health. The Yankees hope Monday's off-day will offer Romine enough time to be ready for Tuesday, when they open a two-game series in Miami. Adding another catcher for Sunday would require a 40-man roster move.
Romine was not available to discuss the injury after Saturday's game, but Boone said, "Right now, he seems to be fine."
"Hopefully he remains symptom-free and it's not a big issue," Boone said. "I think he's OK."
Romine underwent initial concussion testing on the dirt behind home plate in the fifth after Richard Urena fouled a 98-mph Luis Severino pitch straight back. Romine's face mask took the ball square, forcing the catcher to stumble backward. Home-plate umpire David Rackley had to support him, and Romine remained on one knee behind the plate for more than a minute afterward.
Romine eventually finished the inning, but he was replaced by Kyle Higashioka the next time the Yankees took the field. A more extensive round of testing followed.
Boone said Higashioka will start Sunday "even if [Romine] comes in and is good to go."
"We took him down in the tunnel in between innings, felt like he was OK. But just seeing the video and seeing him stumble like that, we wanted to be careful," Boone said.
Thrust back into a starting role when Sanchez was forced back to the disabled list late last month with a groin injury, Romine has hit .242 with two home runs and 10 RBIs in 21 games in his absence, including a sac fly on Saturday. Though Sanchez is prepping to embark on a rehab assignment soon, Romine was expected to handle the bulk of the catching duties until Sanchez's return, which isn't earmarked until the end of the month.
Should the Yankees need to make an emergency move, the club has Wilkin Castillo and Francisco Diaz at Triple-A Scranton Wilkes-Barre. Castillo last played in the Majors in 2009 with the Reds, while Diaz is a career Minor Leaguer. Neither is currently on the 40-man roster.