Phils’ Romero, Lien both to blame

Phils’ J.C. Romero came out Tuesday and defended his actions in using an over-the-counter supplement that turned out to contain a banned substance and has resulted in the reliever’s 50-game suspension.


The bottom line, based on Romero’s comments to Phil Sheridan in the Inky, is Romero and Phils strength coach Dong Lien erred here.


Romero, as can be understood, wasn’t sure if the product contained anything illegal so he took it to Lien. Lien, in turn, said Romero should get a second opinion, so Romero took it to his personal nutrionist. Meantime, Lien sent the product to MLB for testing.


Stop right there.


Shouldn’t Lien have sent the product to MLB right away and advised Romero to hold off on using it until he got a response? I don’t understand how a strength coach would proceed otherwise. And I don’t understand how Romero, knowing that MLB has cracked down on this whole thing, wouldn’t want to first get the OK from MLB. Forget about his “personal nutrionist.”


I’m willing to take Romero at his word that he didn’t know what he was using was illegal. But I’m not willing to relieve, no pun intended, him of blame. This case should be a lesson to all pro athletes – and athletes at every level – to be sure to get proper approval before ingesting anything into their bodies.


And of Lien, he should have provided better advice for Romero. I can’t believe that the Phillies (that’s organization and players) can trust him going forward.


On another note, the Phils have signed Marcus Giles. The former Atlanta 2B gives the team some insurance should Chase Utley’s recovery from hip surgery linger and should rookie Brad Harman struggle as Utley’s fill-in. Giles’ offensive decline is a concern. He’s a career .277 hitter but here’s a closer look at his average:







2008-Out of baseball


There could be a reason for the decline. I won’t speculate but I have my own suspicions for the dropoff. I’ll leave it at that. Still, I think it’s a good signing for the Phils.


Next up: Spring Training, February


Sixers story (14-20): While Tuesday’s 104-96 victory over Houston was encouraging, the Sixers’ 1-5 Western road trip was not. Philly looked much better Tuesday, but not sure what to make of the 21-15 Rockets.


The Sixers have major flaws that need to be addressed at the trade deadline, none more glaring than their inability to shoot the 3. They are last in the NBA at a woeful 29.4 percent from the arc. The lack of a 3-point threat hurts the Sixers because teams consistently can play under the pick and roll, which takes away the drive to the basket. Let’s hope Ed Stefanski can add a few pieces at the deadline.


So, Tony DiLeo’s record stands at 5-6 after Tuesday and the interim coach says he sees the Sixers going in the right direction. I haven’t seen it. Still, the league – and especially the Eastern Conference – is so mediocre that they still have plenty of time to find a groove and make the playoffs – for whatever that’s worth.


Oh, and Elton Brand could be back in two weeks. I’m interested to see if DiLeo’s input will have a positive effect on Brand.


Next up: at Milwaukee, 8 p.m., Wednesday.



That’s all for now.

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