Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Jays ship Romero to minors after rocky spring

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DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Ricky Romero's encouraging start Tuesday was not enough to make up for a rocky pre-season.

The Toronto Blue Jays announced that the left-hander has been optioned to single-A Dunedin of the Florida State League.

The move came shortly after Romero picked up the win in Toronto's 6-3 victory over Pittsburgh. It was considered a make-or-break start for Romero, who had a decent outing but didn't do enough to make up for his spring struggles.

Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos said the left-hander simply ran out of time to make him as good as he should be to be part of the club's rotation.

"We ran out of time," Anthopoulos said. "He's working on something that he hasn't completed yet. We didn't have enough time to get him to complete it."

Romero went 1-1 in five Grapefruit League starts with a 6.23 earned-run average. But his worst outing doesn't show up in the exhibition standings. Romero was lit up in a worrying minor-league start last week, allowing four runs and five walks while retiring only eight batters.

Romero opened last season as Toronto's No. 1 starter, but struggled to a 9-14 record with a 5.77 ERA in 32 starts. The move came hours after Romero allowed six hits, three walks and three runs (two earned) while striking out two over 4 1/3 innings against Pittsburgh.

"Ricky was better today, there's no doubt about it and he's making strides," Anthopoulos said. "You could see it, everything was better but he's not there yet. Could we have started with him? Sure, and ultimately it may have come in Toronto as well because he's making strides here. But he's not ready and he's not as sharp as he needs to be and he needs more time."

Romero found himself fighting for the last spot in the rotation this spring after the Jays picked up R.A. Dickey, Josh Johnson and Mark Buehrle over the off-season.

J.A. Happ, who has pitched well in spring training, will likely get Romero's fifth spot in the rotation.

-- The Canadian Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 27, 2013 C7

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