DETROIT -- The Indians added an experienced left-handed reliever to their depth chart on Friday, signing veteran J.C. Romero to a Minor League contract. Romero has been assigned to Triple-A Columbus.
Cleveland has used four different lefties out of its bullpen this season with inconsistent results. Romero, who spent time at Triple-A with the Tribe last season, potentially provides the Indians with an experienced lefty in the event that the club's issues at the big league level continue.
This season, left-handers Rich Hill, Nick Hagadone, Scott Barnes and David Huff have combined for a 7.98 ERA (39 earned runs in 44 innings) with 51 strikeouts against 27 walks. Huff was designated for assignment on May 23 and subsequently claimed by the Yankees, who later successfully passed him through waivers and assigned him to Triple-A in their system.
Romero, 37, posted a 2.84 ERA in 13 relief appearances for Triple-A Syracuse in Washington's organization earlier this season before opting out of his contract in favor of free agency. He has spent time on the Minor League disabled list due to tendinitis in his left shoulder, but Romero passed a physical before signing with Cleveland.
Last season, Romero posted a 2.74 ERA in 25 appearances between Triple-A Columbus and Triple-A Norfolk (Orioles).
In parts of 14 seasons in the big leagues, Romero has put up a 4.16 ERA with an average of 7.2 strikeouts per nine innings overall and a .220 opponents' batting average against left-handed hitters. Prior to joining the Indians, Romero has had stints with the Twins, Angels, Red Sox, Phillies, Rockies, Cardinals and Orioles.