NEW YORK – Toronto Blue Jays left-hander Ricky Romero underwent season-ending surgery on his left knee this week, and there’s hope he won’t need a similar operation on his right knee.
The procedure, known as debridement, cleaned out quadriceps tendon inflammation and was performed Tuesday in Los Angeles by Dr. Neal ElAttrache. The expected recovery time is six months.
Romero has had knee issues dating back to the end of the 2012 season, when he received a platelet-rich plasma injection in each knee at the same time he had a cleanup operation on his left elbow. This past off-season, he received a stem cell treatment in which bone marrow was extracted from the back of his pelvis and injected into his knees, as John Lott of the National Post reported in the spring.
Whether or not the ongoing pain in his knees is tied to his stunning decline over the past two-plus seasons is unclear, but an inability to drive and plant comfortably on his legs would undoubtedly impact his command.
The possibility of surgery on both knees at the same time was discussed, however, the left knee looked better than expected, raising hopes the right knee won’t need a debridement as well. The 29-year-old will be re-evaluated after six weeks to determine the best course of action.
Romero started nine games at triple-A, posting a 5.50 ERA with 28 strikeouts and 42 walks in 37.2 innings. He earns $7.5 million per season in 2014 and 2015 and his contract includes a $13.1 million option for 2016 that will presumably be declined in favour of a $600,000 buyout.
The sixth overall pick in the 2005 draft, Romero was an all-star in 2011, posting 15-11 record with a 2.92 ERA while logging 225 innings. He declined to 9-14 with a 5.77 ERA in 32 games in 2012 and spent the majority of 2013 in the minors.