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Run by The Trentonian's Nick Peruffo, this blog will provide daily multimedia coverage of the Trenton Thunder.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Yankees sign Smith, Barroso, re-up with Romanski

Via Matt Eddy of Baseball America, the Yankees have added two new pieces from the world of the Independent Leagues: RHP Chris Smith (Washington Wild Things), SS Leugim Barroso (Rio Grande WhiteWings). They've also re-signed lefty reliever Josh Romanski, who spent a good chunk of last year recovering from a blister on his pitching hand.

Smith also spent the winter with the Brisbane Bandits of the Australian Baseball League, where racked up 69 strikeouts in 50 2/3 innings, including games with 11, 12 and 15 Ks and two shutouts.

The Yankees have caught lightning in a bottle from the Wild Things before, namely Vidal Nuno, who tore through Trenton before ending the year in Scranton for the playoffs. Nuno spent part of 2011 with Washington before hooking on with New York in the middle of the year.

Barroso is the rare Cuban import by way of the Midwest. Between Rio Grande and Lincoln, he produced a .317/.345/.364 line with 10 doubles, no longballs and 38 RBIs. He struck out just 23 times in 413 plate appearances.

Romanski's season, which started as the Thunder's fifth starter, was interrupted by blister problems that limited him to just 36 innings, including rehab stints with Staten Island. He finished with a 1-2 record and a 4.00 ERA.

Update: I spoke with Washington Wild Things manager Chris Bando a few moments ago, and he had some very complimentary things to say. He praised Smith -- a converted outfielder -- for his ability to throw three pitches, sinking fastball, slider, and change-up, for strikes.

Smith throws his fastball typically from 90 to 91 miles per hour and tops out at 93, Bando relayed.

"He has an incredible feel for how to pitch," Bando said. "If I had to compare him to any current major leaguer, it'd be Jake Peavy. His slider and change-up right now are plus Major League pitches." 

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