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Roman Mendez was signed by the Boston Red Sox just before his 17th birthday. He played rookie class ball in the Dominican Republic in 2008, and never got past Class A ball until August 2012, while playing with the AA Frisco Roughriders (Texas Rangers). He continued with the Roughriders through 2013, but spent considerable time on the DL with elbow issues. In 2014, he played AAA ball with the Roundrock Express, and got called up to the bigs on July 7th. He threw two shutout innings against the Astros on July 8th. In 2015, he appeared in 12 games, but his 5.40 ERA resulted in his release on September 1. He was picked up by the Red Sox and appeared in three games, but once again had rather unspectacular results. The following season, he spent the entire year in AAA (Pawtucket), racking up a 3.38 ERA and 59 strikeouts in 32 games.
On November 27, 2016, Hanshin announced that they reached an agreement with Roman Mendez for the 2017 season. He would wear number 20. At the time of his signing, the Tigers had not yet re-signed Rafael Dolis, who left the team before the end of 2016 and had offseason elbow surgery. Therefore, Mendez was a candidate to be on the top squad from Opening Day. The team, however, would reach a deal with Dolis during spring training.
Because the team had three established import pitchers on the roster, Mendez started the season on the farm. He threw in 38 games by the all-star break, picking up 19 saves. Both of these numbers were tops in the Western League.
Marcos Mateo went down with lower back issues soon after the all-star game, and Mendez was able to fill in. He made his debut at Jingu Stadium against the Yakult Swallows on July 22, throwing an inning of shutout ball. He played in three more games after his debut, allowing no runs and picking up a hold on July 27 (at home against the Yokohama DeNA BayStars). Mateo returned on July 31st, which pushed Mendez back down to the farm.
When Randy Messenger broke his fibula bone on August 11, Mendez got the call-up to bolster the pen. Unfortunately, in 3 games (3.2 innings), Mendez surrendered 8 runs (6 earned) and was sent down to the farm on August 16. He would never get the call-up again after that.
Mendez ended his farm season with a win and five losses, a 3.48 ERA and 23 saves (tops in the league). He was released on November 30th. On January 3rd it was announced that Mendez had reached a minor-league agreement with the Washington Nationals for the 2018 season.
Mendez Press Conference (January 29, 2017)
Mateo, Mendez Arrive in Japan (January 28, 2017)
Tigers Ink Reliever Mendez (November 21, 2016)