BRADENTON, Fla. -- Right-handed relief pitcher Enrique Romo informed the Pittsburgh Pirates Thursday he will not report to spring training because he wishes to play for an unsanctioned league in his native Mexico, a team spokesman announced.
Pirates' executive vice president Harding Peterson responded that Romo would have to submit his written intention to retire to avoid a $500-a-day fine for not reporting to camp. That letter would result in his being placed on the major leagues' 'voluntary retired list.'
Romo, 9-3 with one save and a 4.36 earned run average in 45 games last season, is the only member of the Pirates' 40-man roster who has not reported to Pirate City.
The spokesman said a team official talked Thursday morning with Romo, who spoke of his plans to join what the Pirates called 'a renegade league.'
The only league in Mexico sanctioned by major league baseball is the Mexican League. Romo would be ineligible for the Mexican League if he retired from the Pirates.
Peterson said, 'If he is sincere about not wanting to play here, we will need that information in writing. If we do not hear from him and he's not in camp by March 6, we will begin fining him on that date a total of $500 per day for every day that he is not in camp...
'If he is not sincere,' Peterson added, 'he should be in camp.'
Romo told the Pirates two weeks ago he would be late reporting because one of his children had chicken pox. He was given until Feb. 28 to report.
First baseman Jason Thompson missed Thursday's workout with a mild case of a virus, the spokesman said.
The rain-soaked fields at Pirate City were finally dry, allowing the team to hold a full-fledged workout.
Pitchers increased their throwing to 20 minutes.