Romero says release by Blue Jays surprised him


Ricky Romero was released by the Blue Jays on Saturday. (Frank Gunn/CP)

Ricky Romero says his release by the Toronto Blue Jays came as a surprise and the left-hander acknowledges that he has “mixed feelings” about whether he had the full support of the organization.

“It was definitely pretty weird, pretty shocking,” said Romero, who was a guest on Tuesday morning’s Dean Blundell & Co. on Sportsnet 590 The FAN.

Romero on Dean Blundell & Co.

The Blue Jays released the former all-star pitcher on Saturday. Romero, 30, was in the final season of a $30.1-million, five-year contract and had been working out at the team’s training complex in Dunedin, Fla. He underwent surgery on both his knees last year.

Romero said Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos travelled to Florida to personally deliver news of his release.

“I hadn’t talked to Alex in probably over a year and then I talked to him this Saturday and it was just to release me,” Romero said. “It was a little weird. It was definitely … something that I didn’t expect.”

Romero said the news was especially surprising given that during Spring Training he was called in for a positive meeting with manager John Gibbons and pitching coach Pete Walker.

“(They) let me know they were still thinking of me and still believe in me,” he said. “They told me ‘Make sure you take your time’ and we think it’s going to be a great story the day you come back up and help us.

“I kind of got a little uplifted by that. We had a great talk and I walked out of there and continued to work hard and then this happened, so it was a little bit of confusing stuff going on but it’s part of the business.”

Romero said toward the end of his tenure he felt somewhat of a disconnect with the Blue Jays.

“I did (receive support) from some people,” he said. “Some people took the time to text me, to call me, whatever it was. But it’s a little bit of mixed feelings. At times I did, at times I didn’t.

“But in the end it’s part of the business.”

On a personal front, Romero said he is expecting a baby in September with his fiancée Kara Lang, a former member of Canada’s national women’s soccer team.

“One of the funny things my mom just said was that ‘You’re not leaving Canada totally behind because you’re bringing a Canadian back home,’” he said with a laugh.

The left-hander said he is looking ahead and will continue to pursue a career in the major leagues.

“There’s 29 other teams out there,” he said. “I’m looking forward to the next chapter in my life and hopefully it’s with a team that believes in me and gives me an opportunity.”

Romero went 13-9 as a rookie in 2009 and was an American League all-star in 2011, a season in which he finished 15-11 with a 2.92 ERA over 225 innings.

He struggled in 2012 posting a 9-14 record with a 5.77 ERA and only pitched in four big-league games the following year, his last in the majors.

“I enjoyed my time in Toronto,” said Romero. “The city was great, (I met) a lot of great people. I made a lot of great friends. … I loved every minute of it.

“I grew up there,” he added. “For all 10 years of my career I was a Toronto Blue Jay. Whether it was in the minors or the big leagues it didn’t matter. I always wore that uniform with pride.

“In the end, I leave with my head held high, ready for everything else that comes my way.”

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