Saturday, May 4, 2013

What to Take Away from Ricky Romero’s First Start:

          With Josh Johnson being placed on the DL (retroactive to April 29th) the Blue Jays made somewhat of a risky move in bringing up former All-Star starting pitcher Ricky Romero. Throughout all of Romero's 2012 struggles, management continued to start him every 5 days in the MLB. The management convinced almost every fan that they were going to continue their stubbornness into the 2013 season, disregarding the continued troubles in Spring Training, but just when everyone thought they had AA figured out, he surprised everyone by announcing Ricky would by assigned, and stay in Dunedin to start the year. The announcement was made just days before the Jays were to return to Toronto. Ricky stayed in Dunedin and worked on mechanics, just getting into one start after they felt he was ready to return to game action. 

          Many expected Romero to make at least 3-5 starts before joining the Blue Jays, but after going 7 strong innings that saw him induce 14 groundball outs while striking out 4 and conceding 0 base on balls (that's right, 0 walks), the management obviously felt he was ready. So, when JJ went down with right triceps inflammation, Romero was unexpectedly and hastily called up to the Blue Jays and made his first start Friday night at Rogers Centre against the Seattle Mariners.

Romero testing out his arm after being
hit by the come-backer.
          Romero started his year well for the Blue Jays. Despite giving up one hit, he retired the first nine batters and was as good as can be through the first three innings with no walks and three strikeouts. Then the wheels fell off a little bit in the fourth inning as he threw 37 pitches (4 more than the first three innings combined), while walking three, resulting in three runs. However, even with this rough inning, I loved what I saw in Ricky because you could see that his mindset had improved, and that he did not let the single, walks, hit-by-pitch, or Kyle Seager’s two-run home run snowball into a 4 or 5 or 6 run inning, but managed to keep it to three runs while having a blister on his middle finger and being hit by a come-backer in his pitching arm during the fourth.

          While the final line may not be too pretty (4 IP, 3 ER, 3 BB, 4 K) his resilience and mindset is something that all Blue Jays fans should be excited about as Ricky Romero is back, and he is back with a vengeance.

          Make sure you follow me on Twitter: @TheRealNickBell

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