Romero being sued for alleged altercation

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- J.C. Romero is being sued by the Florida man who accused Romero of striking him after a game at Tropicana Field last season.

Robert Eaton, 26, of New Port Richey, has filed a lawsuit in Pinellas County, claiming that Romero caused him serious and permanent injury on June 25, 2009, according to a report in the St. Petersburg Times.

Eaton alleges that Romero hit him in the neck when he was asking for an autograph. Eaton remembers calling Romero's attention by saying, "How about you get me some juice?" -- a reference to Romero's 50-game suspension last season for performance enhancing drugs. After St. Petersburg police investigated the claim and handed it to the state attorney's office, charges were not pursued because of conflicting accounts from witnesses.

"It happened, and it affected my life," Eaton told the Times.

Eaton is believed to be seeking at least $15,000 in damages. According to the report, Eaton could not enroll in firefighters school because he failed to pass a physical.

When asked about the lawsuit this morning, Romero said he did not want to discuss specifics.

"I'm trying to put it behind me," he said. "When something changes, I'll talk to you."

In actual baseball news, Romero will throw breaking balls off a mound for the first time on Sunday, general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said. That's a big step for Romero, who has been limited to throwing fastballs with two days off in between each session. He's still a long shot for opening day.