It didn’t take long for manager David Ross to get both Austin and Andrew Romine in the Cubs lineup at the same time.
It also didn’t happen the way anyone expected.
“I knew they would get some time together, him being here and just getting here, but I didn't know it'd be like that,” Ross said.
Andrew, an infielder, pitched the ninth inning of Thursday’s 17-4 blowout loss to the Brewers, with younger brother Austin serving as his catcher.
It was the first time one brother pitched to another since June 28, 1962, when Larry Sherry pitched to brother Norm, his teammate with the Dodgers from 1959-62.
Austin Romine rejoined the Cubs Thursday for the first time since going on the 60-day injured list (left wrist sprain) on May 5. Between his last game on April 25 and Thursday, the Cubs traded away a third of their roster, leading to Andrew’s promotion from Triple-A on July 30.
The two brothers have a combined 21 seasons of big-league experience — zero as teammates before 2021.
“We weren't even sure if we were ever going to be on the same team, in the same organization,” Andrew said. “So today was a surprise.”
A surprise in more ways than one.
“I didn't know he was getting here in time for the game today,” Andrew added of Austin, whom the Cubs activated off the IL pregame. “To be able to see him in the dugout was pretty cool.”
Thursday’s game quickly went south for the Cubs. Milwaukee led 9-1 after the top of the fifth and extended its lead, putting the game out of reach.
Ross went to Austin to let him know he’d be catching his brother.
“If you guys could have seen his face light up in that moment,” Ross said in his postgame video conference. “That was kind of the highlight of the day for me.”
“It gave me a little smile,” Andrew added. “Obviously the situation sucks, but that was something that we had a little fun with, given the circumstances.”
It brought back memories of high school. As a senior, Andrew pitched to Austin, who was then a freshman.
Was Andrew a good pitcher back then?
“I like to think I was,” he said, smiling.
Austin didn’t call any pitches Thursday, but Andrew threw him a few knuckleballs while just trying to get the ball over the plate.
He gave up two hits, including a solo home run, but struck out Jackie Bradley Jr. looking to end the inning, with a nice frame by Austin.
“It was kind of like throwing the ball around in the backyard and playing wiffle ball,” Andrew said.
Said Ross: “That was definitely something they can hold on to for a long, long time”