Romine signed a one-year, $1.8 million contact with the Yankees on Friday to avoid arbitration, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports. Romine had the most productive season of his major-league career in 2018 with a .244/.295/.417 slash line and 10 home runs in 265 at-bats. The 30-year-old enters 2019 as the primary backup to starting catcher Gary Sanchez.
Romine (neck) will start at catcher and bat eighth against the Orioles on Friday, Lindsey Adler of The Athletic reports. Romine has been dealing with a stiff neck this week and hasn't seen game action since Sept. 11, though most of that can likely be attributed to his reserve role. The 29-year-old lines up against Orioles' right-hander Yefry Ramirez on Friday.
Romine was unavailable Tuesday with a stiff neck but could appear off the bench Wednesday against the Red Sox, Meredith Marakovits of YES Network reports. Romine is firmly behind Gary Sanchez on the depth chart, so it's likely he would have remained on the bench regardless of the injury. Sanchez is starting behind the plate for the sixth straight day Wednesday, however, so Romine could be due for a start soon.
Romine went 1-for-4 with a solo home run Saturday against the Mariners. Romine took Nick Vincent deep in the seventh inning to record his 10th home run of the season. While he saw 78 at-bats in August with Gary Sanchez sidelined, Romine has seen his playing time severely cut since Sanchez has returned to health.
Romine is out of the lineup against Detroit on Thursday. Romine will head to the bench after starting the past two games behind the plate. Kyle Higashioka will handle the catching duties and bat seventh in the order for the series opener. Look for Romine to rejoin the lineup Friday.