TAMPA, Fla. - The batter stepped to the plate with two outs in the third inning Saturday and affectionately greeted Yankees catcher Austin Romine.
"Hey, little brother," said the Tigers' Andrew Romine, 29, happy to be facing Austin, 26, for the first time as major-leaguers.
TV cameras picked up the exchange between the brothers, which included Austin picking up a handful of dirt from behind the plate and tossing it at his brother's feet as he set himself in the batter's box.
"We're not real, like, chit-chatty or anything, or trying to get pitches from him or anything like that," said Andrew, who has a .236 average in 168 career games. "I kind of said 'Hey, what's up,' and then when I got in the box, he was still talking and I told him, 'All right, that's enough. Stop talking. Get out of my head.' "
The two just missed opposing each other in the Arizona Fall League. Austin came up with the Yankees and Andrew played with the Angels before joining the Tigers last year.
Their teams would meet, but one would play the first game, the other the second. One of Andrew's two career home runs came against the Yankees last season in a 4-3 Tigers win.
Andrew, it turned out, drew a walk from Yankees starter Michael Pineda, who had retired all eight batters to that point. Austin said he was excited to see his brother on base, if only because he wanted to throw him out on the basepaths. Pineda took care of that, picking him off and catching him in a rundown between first and second.
The two sons of former major-leaguer Kevin Romine, who was an outfielder with the Red Sox from 1985-91, were high school teammates for one season in Lake Forest, California, with Austin even catching for Andrew, who made his mark as an infielder but doubled as the team's closer.
The Romines were nearly the second-best brotherhood story of the day for the Yankees, who almost had a twin-brother battery in their split-squad game in Dunedin. Taylor Garrison, the 24-year-old twin of Yankees catcher Trent Garrison, was among 12 day call-ups from minor-league camp.
Yankees bench coach Rob Thomson said the team had hoped to allow the brothers to pitch to each other late in the game. Trent got in the game as a pinch hitter and finished the game behind the plate, but Taylor wasn't among the Yankees pitchers used against Toronto.