PEORIA, Ariz. — From the A’s bullpen, Sergio Romo could see how hard they played, never relenting regardless of score. On the mound, he battled their resiliency and their will to win.

And win the Mariners did.

In 19 meetings between the two American League West rivals last season, the Mariners beat the A’s in 15, including the last 12 games of the season series.

Romo was there for all of them as a veteran setup man in the Oakland bullpen.

“We just couldn’t beat them,” he said. “And you get frustrated after a while, but then, what’s the saying, ‘If you can’t beat them, join them.’ So that’s kind of why I’m here. They earned my respect by the way they played. They don’t have to say much, and they don’t. They just play. That’s kind of my style.”

Romo joined the Mariners on Thursday, signing a one-year, $2 million contract.

“It really only took one phone call,” he said. “I had gotten other phone calls with some interest, but this was the first team that really put an offer on the table. I know there’s things that happened prior to that with Casey (Sadler) getting hurt. That’s probably the real push that they needed to offer me something.”

Advertising

The Mariners offered the ideal situation for Romo.

“A West Coast team that has a legitimate shot to win and that’s expecting to win; what more can I ask for being a West Coast guy?” he said. “At this stage in my career, there’s only a couple of things that are left — enjoying my time and my teammates with how much time I have left playing in the league and to win.”

He met with the media Friday afternoon and threw his first bullpen session.

“I’m excited for today,” Romo said. “It’s odd to say that there’s going to be adrenaline in a bullpen, but I’m excited for that and to just get going.”

Admittedly, at age 39, there is a little more preparation that needs to be done to be game ready.

“I was down in Mexico practicing with my team that has my rights to me there,” he said. “It’s not like I can just jump off the couch like before. I had to take advantage of the opportunity to be at least somewhat ready.”

Romo’s schedule will be pretty simple after that first bullpen with two weeks left in spring training.

Advertising

“From there, it’s just to see some hitters in a live BP and then get in a game,” he said. “I would assume that I’ll get in two or three games before these last two weeks are out. Just to make sure that I’m ready to rock. Mentally I’m ready to go.”

Romo brings a wealth of MLB experience and postseason experience to the bullpen and clubhouse.

He has made 798 MLB appearances in 14 seasons, posting a career 3.22 earned-run average and 27.3 strikeout percentage. He has pitched in 30 postseason games and was part of three World Series-winning teams with San Francisco.

“I think he brings a lot,” Mariners manager Scott Servais said. “Certainly, he’s got over 13 years in the league, and he’s been on three world championship teams. His first interaction in our clubhouse (Thursday) morning was great. He’s not afraid. He’s certainly earned everything that he’s achieved in this game. He’s got a lot to add, and I think he can still get people out, too. I’m anxious to get him out on the mound.”

Romo was taken aback by Servais’ presence and commanding tone in the morning meetings before workouts. He even compared him to his Giants manager, Bruce Bochy.

“He surprised me yesterday (Thursday) with the way he held court in that meeting,” Romo said.

Advertising

Romo understands that he’s being brought in for what he’s done in his career as much as what he’s going to do this season.

“I know these guys maybe haven’t necessarily been to the playoffs, and I know there’s been somewhat of a drought here with the Mariners,” he said. “I’d like to change that. It’s exciting to be a part of it now. I want to win. So do they. This seems like a pretty good fit.”

Notes

  • Evan White was scheduled to undergo an MRI on his surgically repaired left hip flexor after tweaking it in Thursday’s game vs. Cleveland.

“Evan is frustrated,” Servais said. “He wants to play through it. He hasn’t played in a long time. He wants to get back out there, but before we get too far down the road we need to wait and see what the results of the MRI look like and go from there. Hopefully it doesn’t slow him down too much.”