With each additional day he misses, it’s less likely Austin Romine will be ready for the Cubs’ season opener.
Romine, the Cubs backup catcher, remains day to day with a right knee sprain, manager David Ross said Wednesday. The 32-year-old is still dealing with some soreness, according to Ross.
“He's feeling better daily, but it's just been a really slow process” Ross said. “You can imagine being a catcher with the knee barking and swelling up on him.
“It’s taking a minute, so he's still day to day.”
The Cubs signed Romine to a one-year deal this winter to back up starter Willson Contreras, following the trade of Victor Caratini to San Diego. But the veteran of nine big league seasons has only appeared in three games this spring, none since March 6.
Between Contreras and Caratini, catching depth has been one of the Cubs’ strengths in recent seasons. With Caratini gone and Romine possibly unavailable, P.J. Higgins and José Lobatón are two backup options for the start of the season.
Higgins, 27, hasn’t made his MLB debut but reached Triple-A in 2019 and spent last season at the alternate site in South Bend. Lobatón, 36, has nine years of big league experience, last appearing with the Mets in 2018. Both are non-roster invitees this spring.
“We’re just watching that dynamic and seeing how that plays out, taking it one day at a time,” Ross said. “Of course we pay attention to the backups now.”