It was the third straight year that Austin Romine was invited to big league camp, an experience that he not only welcomes, but one that he looks forward to each year.
"It's the best time of the year," he said with a huge smile. "I just love it, being around some of the veteran big leaguers around there. I learn a lot of stuff and I pick there brains. It's just the [best] part of my day."
Romine, who left last season a very lean 197 pounds, reported to camp this year looking a lot stronger and he's hoping that his new 210 pound physique will aid him in 2010.
"The Florida State League, that took a lot out of me," he admitted. "I was losing six pounds a game and had to drink a gallon of water every night. It took a lot out of me and I was wearing down at the end of the season.
"So I went home and started lifting more, and ate a little bit better than I would eat here. I put the weight back on that I felt that I could perform the best at and the power came back a little bit more. I feel more comfortable at the plate and overall I just feel better – healthier."
Back at the minor league complex now with arguably even more confidence than he's ever had, he not only believes physically he feels better but that mentally he has gained an edge from his time in big league camp.
"Just how to talk to pitchers," he said of the biggest thing he learned in big league camp. "I've talked a lot with the pitchers this year, what they like doing, why they like doing it, as opposed to the year before where I just talked to catchers and hitters.
"[This year] I really wanted to broaden my range of how to call games, how to talk to pitchers, and how to get them to throw their right stuff. I spent a lot of time talking to pitchers to see how they like to throw and how I should catch the game and call the game."
Having always been hell-bent on becoming the best possible defensive catcher he could be and supremely confident in his bat, the 2009 Florida State League Hitter of the Year wants to merely sharpen his entire game and keep his progression going this year.
"Just locking it down," he said of his goals. "Catching has always been there, I just keep sharpening the tools everyday. I've caught a lot of the guys that are going [to Trenton] so we have good relationships and just building on top of that is what I'd like to do.
"If I can just put up another solid year every year, that's the best case scenario for me. I talked a lot to Tony [Pena] and Joe [Girardi] up there, I just want to soften things up and be more quiet [in his movements].
"I thought I had a good handle on it but they told me some things to tweak and just keep going the way I'm going."
Romine Locking It Down
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