Phillies lefty JoJo Romero and Yankees right-hander Jonathan Loaisiga squared off in a schoolkids' special 10:30 a.m. game at Trenton on Wednesday, a matchup of a top-100 prospect in Romero (No. 59) and a rising star in a Yankees system where every other pitcher seems to throw 95. Loaisiga was the more impressive of the two early, but Romero rallied as his outing progressed, with his last two pitches of the day perhaps his best.
Romero's velocity had picked up late last year and he had held it into spring training, but he'd struggled to hold his stuff and keep runs off the board since the season began, bringing a 7.18 ERA into the Wednesday game through five starts. Romero started out heavy on two-seamers in the 86-89 range and his above-average changeup at 78-80 mph, with a few four-seamers at 89-90 early and one -- a strikeout of Brandon Drury in the first -- at an incongruous 94.