Romine Not Pressing

Romine hit his third home run on Saturday

Even with very little professional experience prior to the 2008 season, Austin Romine had one of the better camps in Spring Training and displayed some of the best power in the organization. While his power hasn't exactly translated into numbers in game situations just yet in his first professional season, the catcher admits he's not about to press the issue.

The first half of the Charleston Riverdogs season was a rough one for catcher Austin Romine. This is not to say he wasn't hitting because April found him touting a .351 average and overall he hit a solid .303 combined before the All-Star break.

Unfortunately, in late April he landed on the disabled list for nearly a month and it couldn't have happened at a worse time as he left behind seven multi-hit games.

June found Romine back to his old self, hitting .301 with eleven RBI. And while a long stint on the DL may sour a lesser player, Romine never doubted his ability to get back in the game and pick up where he left off. Overall, the California native was quite pleased with his first half performance.

"I think it went pretty well" said Romine. "I did get hurt and missed quite a few games but I just wanted to get back in the grind again. I matured a lot behind the plate just in the first half alone.

"And right now I feel I've come a long way since the beginning of the season and matured defensively."

"Other than being hurt for a month, I think he's made a lot of progress," responded Charleston hitting coach Greg Colbrunn when asked about Romine's first half. "At the start of the season, it was a battle for him but he showed what he could do by not giving away at-bats and once he came back off the DL, he settled in and had a pretty good first half."

Never one to be content with just doing his job, Romine is always pushing himself to improve in the constantly changing landscape of the Sally League. He is always looking to improve, whether it is for his own benefit, the pitchers he guides or for his fellow teammates. To improve upon his first half, he is quick to point out that there is always work to be done.

"Its an ever-changing game offensively, so you have to keep your tools crisp and there's always room for improvement and defensively, while I've come a long way with my footwork, and I'm comfortable with where it's at, I can always do more so I'll be looking to do a lot of that in the second half," opined Romine.

Coach Colbrunn sees a player who is quick to adapt and when the staff sees him getting too antsy, they can trust him to be able to immediately respond and alter his approach with little or no coaxing.

"Sometimes he will get a little happy early in the count and try and go deep but he makes very quick adjustments with two strikes," said Colbrunn. "One thing Austin does well is make very good adjustments because he knows his swing and he goes out there every at-bat and has a quality approach."

One concern this season has been the young catcher's home run numbers. Not one to play the numbers game, Romine is sure they will take care of themselves as he adjusts to the long season and his first full year with wooden bats.

"I'm feeling more comfortable with wood now, it is my first full year with it and I'm trying to figure out how it feels, but it's coming around," said Romine. "As far as lack of home runs, I'm not up there trying to jack home runs, I'm there to do my job. I think the home runs will come and I'm not trying to press it."

"It's another adjustment," insists Colbrunn. "And this is a long season where you're swinging every day with wood instead of every couple days with aluminum before pro ball. He's adapted to it real well though."

When asked about his plans for the remainder of the season, Romine is kind enough to cater to earlier queries about his power numbers and expands on how he feels the season will progress in that regard.

"I'd like to hit a couple more home runs but I'm not going to press," he said stoically. "I think that's what happened to me in the first half and I almost pressed it, but I stepped back and realized they were going to come.

"So the power will come. I'm feeling a lot more comfortable with the wood and I personally feel like I'm hitting the ball better than I did in the first half."

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