Toronto Blue Jays left-handed starting pitcher Ricky Romero had high hopes of clinching the fifth rotation spot in camp. Unfortunately, consistency became an issue, which forced the Blue Jays to option the left-hander to the minors.
Romero came into Tuesday’s game as the fifth starter on Toronto’s depth chart. However, his performance against the Pittsburgh Pirates was not enough to convince the Blue Jays that he was the man for the job.
The 28-year-old allowed three runs (two earned) on six hits in 4 1/3 innings in the win. This performance came 11 days after he allowed three earned runs on five hits against the Detroit Tigers.
With Opening Day less than a week away, this is crunch time for every single player who is sitting on the bubble. Toronto is clearly unable to trust Romero enough to put him on the 25-man roster because they do not believe he has full command of his pitches. The Blue Jays will not risk every fifth start with a player that has obvious control issues. Therefore, they are sending him down to a lower-level affiliate so that he can work on his pitching mechanics.
Romero posted the best statistical season of his career in 2011, but followed it up with a very bad year in 2012. The Blue Jays were hoping he would be able to get it together in camp and prove to the team that he can still pitch at a high level. Unfortunately, it does not appear a lot has changed since he went 9-14 with a 5.77 ERA and career-low 124 strikeouts in 32 starts last season.
There is a good chance J.A. Happ will be named the No. 5 starter in the rotation for the regular season.