Originally posted on Fox Sports Midwest  |  Last updated 2/23/12
JUPITER, Fla. (AP) Sitting on a stool in front of his locker and surrounded by his new teammates in the St. Louis clubhouse, pitcher J.C. Romero looked quite comfortable in the spot where he thought he would be a year ago. The 35-year-old left-hander had expected to sign with Cardinals before last season. Instead, he bounced between four organizations and six different major and minor league teams. "I thought I had a deal worked out (with St. Louis) but it didn't happen," Romero said. "From the past I always enjoyed coming to St. Louis and I always enjoyed watching them from the other side, how they execute the game." Romero said he doesn't think much about missing out on the Cardinals' run to the World Series title last season. "Things happen for a reason," he said. And though he is not sporting a 2011 World Series ring, Romero does recognize the championship energy that has permeated the opening days of Cardinals' camp. He experienced a similar atmosphere in the spring of 2009, months after he helped Philadelphia win the World Series. "They are hungry," Romero said. "They are looking forward to this season knowing that they have a title they have to defend, but at the same time they are going for a second straight title." Romero is not expected to play a key role, though he likely will be asked to take the mound frequently. As the Cardinals' left-handed specialist, Romero likely will have to face only one or two batters an outing. It's a role in which he's been effective. Since 2000, Romero has appeared in 659 games, most among active left-handed pitchers. Twice during that time he's pitched in 81 games in a season. This year, he wants more. "My personal goal is to try getting 82," Romero said. Pitching coach Derek Lilliquist isn't sure that's a goal he wants Romero to reach. "That's a lot of games," Lilliquist said. It's more likely that the Cardinals will spread out Romero's appearances in an effort to keep him healthy throughout the season. There is reason to watch his workload closely. Romero had surgery to repair the flexor tendon in his left arm following the 2009 season. He pitched in 60 games for the Phillies in 2010, with a 3.68 ERA, surpassing 3.00 for the first time since 2006. Romero struggled again in 2011, eventually getting waived by the Phillies. He bounced from the Nationals to the Yankees' minor league systems before ending the season back in the majors with Colorado. "Toward the end of last year I felt that my command was outstanding," Romero said. "This offseason, I went in with a little clarity and a different mindset. I went through my pens knowing I was healthy." The initial reaction to Romero's 2012 camp performance has been positive. "I was pleasantly surprised with his change-up," Lilliquist said following Romero's first workout. "There are some things moving forward we will address in terms of his breaking ball and maybe the spin for his change-up. It looks like he's in a good frame of mind and that's good for the bullpen."
MORE FROM YARDBARKER:
Five most anticipated September MLB call-ups
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

U.S. Soccer hands Solo six month suspension for Olympic comments

Report: Josh Gordon will be restricted free agent after 2016

Chargers release statement on Joey Bosa situation

Yoenis Cespedes says he will not opt out of Mets contract

Zach Johnson unloads on Olympic golf

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Drew Brees says players do not trust league office, Goodell

Lawsuit over Hall of Fame Game refiled after McAfee comments

Report: Griffin plans to re-sign with Clippers, won't be traded

Report: Wentz unlikely to see any playing time this season

Minnesota Wild names Prince’s ‘Let’s Go Crazy’ official goal song

Gabby Douglas joining judges for Miss America pageant

Bryce Harper holds Ledecky's medals during first pitch

One Gotta Go: NFL legends bring the hate for our favorite football movies

Hard not to be cynical about LeBron's 'Cleveland Hustles'

Familiar faces that won't be seen in the NFL this year

24 quintessential moments of Kobe Bryant's career

Revisiting the 10 biggest mistakes of the NFL offseason

One Gotta Go: NFL legends (and Jose Canseco!) have no love for Captain America

Four WNBA teams to pay attention to post-Olympic break

Madden 17 shows how vital a fresh coat of paint can be

Why people just can't get behind the Washington Nationals

Washington's Josh Norman speaks candidly about multiple NFL talking points

Derrick Rose: Knicks have chance to win every game

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

One Gotta Go: NFL legends bring the hate for our favorite football movies

Hard not to be cynical about LeBron James' 'Cleveland Hustles'

Ranking the uniforms of the NFL from worst to best

Familiar faces that won't be seen in the NFL this year

24 quintessential moments of Kobe Bryant's career

One Gotta Go: NFL legends (and Jose Canseco!) have no love for Captain America

Four WNBA teams to pay attention to post-Olympic break

Madden 17 shows how vital a fresh coat of paint can be

Why people just can't get behind the Washington Nationals

QUIZ: Name every player to win a championship with Kobe Bryant

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker