Reds starter Sal Romano pitches against the Braves on Monday, April 23, 2018, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati. David Jablonski/Staff

Lighter Romano focused on health, ‘helping the Reds win’

Pitcher hopes weight loss helps improve results on the mound

The Cincinnati right-handed pitcher revealed during Redsfest that he’s been focusing on losing weight.

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“I was always 270 (pounds), creeping up a little bit,” said Romano, who turned 25 on Oct. 12. “I just wanted to see how my body reacts. I’m going to see how I feel when I do start throwing and see how my arm responds and my body reacts. If I need to put a little bit more weight on, I’ll do that, but I really was determined to lose some weight this offseason. I can only see it benefitting my game and my mobility.”

Romano, who went 8-11 with a 5.31 earned-run average in 39 appearances – including 25 starts – last season, said he lost the weight through eating healthier and more time in the gym. He smiled when reminded that he picked a difficult time to go on a diet.

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“Thanksgiving, I just had some portions,” said Romano, nicknamed “Big Sally,” said. “I didn’t crush like I normally do.”

Romano was on track to report to spring training at his lowest weight since 2014, when he carried 254 pounds on his 6-foot-5 frame, according to Reds media guides. The June 2011 23rd-round draft pick weighed 225 pounds his first couple of years in the organization before growing to 245 in 2013, 254 in 2014, 260 in 2015 and 2016 and 270 the past couple of seasons.

Romano pitched out of the bullpen last season for the first time in his brief major league career. All but one of his 131 minor league appearances were starts and he was 5-8 with a 4.45 ERA in 16 starts during his first major league experience in 2017. He finished 2018 7-10 with a 5.48 ERA in his starts and 1-0 with a 3.77 ERA in relief, but his goal is to return to new manager David Bell’s rotation.

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“I’m going to go for the rotation,” he said. “I proved last year that I can do both, but the most important thing is helping the Reds win. It’s time to win. We have the players to win.”

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