How Cubs’ Austin Romine’s knee injury reminds of catching depth difference

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Tim Stebbins
·2 min read
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How Romine’s knee injury reminds of catching depth difference originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

Whether Austin Romine’s right knee sprain keeps him sidelined for an extended period, it might at least be a reminder of the difference in the Cubs’ catching depth from past seasons.

Romine, 32, hasn’t appeared in a spring game since last Saturday against Milwaukee. Although there’s no timetable for his return, Cubs manager David Ross said Friday the catcher is day to day and “feeling better each and every day” as he receives treatment.

Romine, a veteran of nine seasons, joined the Cubs on a one-year deal this past offseason to back up starter Willson Contreras. The signing came after the Cubs dealt Victor Caratini to the Padres with ace Yu Darvish.

Between Contreras and Caratini, catching has been a Cubs strength in recent seasons. The former has started back-to-back All-Star games, and the latter proved himself capable of handling a significant workload as he established himself as a big leaguer.

But even with the Contreras-Caratini tandem, the Cubs have had experienced catching depth in the wings in years past. They carried a third catcher, veteran Josh Phegley, on their 2020 Opening Day roster before designating him for assignment in late August.

In August 2019, they added veteran Jonathan Lucroy to the depth chart behind Contreras and Caratini.

This season, catching options behind Contreras and Romine include veteran José Lobatón, P.J. Higgins (who reached Triple-A in 2019), Taylor Gushue (signed to a minor-league deal last November) and top prospect Miguel Amaya.

Lobatón is the only one among the four with big league experience, while Amaya is the only one on the 40-man roster. But between the group, Ross said he's confident in the club's depth.

“We’ll see how Austin comes along with this knee,” Ross said. “There’s real depth here to me from a backup standpoint in our organization.”

Marisnick update

Ross said outfielder Jake Marisnick, who has been slowed by a calf injury, will play in Saturday's "B" game, his first of the spring. After an off day Sunday, he'll be back in the mix on Monday, according to Ross.

"He feels really good," Ross said. "He's continued to take some live BPs and looks and feels great running the bases."

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