BOSTON – The Toronto Blue Jays are again preaching patience with starter Ricky Romero, who was roughed up badly in his debut for the triple-A Buffalo Bisons.
The left-hander – optioned down after lasting just seven batters and a third of an inning against Tampa Bay in the shortest start of his big-league career Wednesday – allowed six runs on 10 hits and five walks with no strikeouts over 3.2 innings in a 10-7 win at Louisville on Saturday.
For good measure he also had a balk and a wild pitch, although six of the 10 hits against him were on ground balls. The other four came on line drives.
“I guess it’s a little disappointing to see those numbers but I know he’s still working hard and I still think he’s on the right path,” Blue Jays pitching coach Pete Walker said Sunday. “Hopefully he can stay positive and continue to go out there and pitch.
“I don’t know all the numbers but it seemed like he was keeping the ball on the ground, which is a good sign. It just wasn’t a good outing but I’m sure he’s going to bounce back.”
Romero’s recall from Dunedin on May 3 and subsequent demotion Thursday were controversial moves, with some feeling the Blue Jays rushed the 2011 all-star back from a mechanical makeover that started at the end of spring training when he was sent to single-A Dunedin.
He made just one start there before brought up to cover for the injured Josh Johnson.
“He just needs time, that’s all it is, we think,” manager John Gibbons said. “We want him to pitch and get on track because we still think he’s going to help us.”
The Blue Jays sent Romero to Buffalo to continue working on his mechanical changes in a less pressurized environment.
“When they go down for the first time or when they’re first sent down when they’re in the big leagues, it’s always a little bit of a letdown,” Walker said. “Mentally you go out there and you think you can just go out there and do what you need to do but they swing the bat and they can put you in some tough situations. …
“It takes a lot of work and time. But … he’s made a commitment to it and I think still in the long run it’s better for him. It’s just a matter of him getting results.”