Jays Notebook: Former prospect Romero a real pro
DUNEDIN, Fla. - It's considered normal protocol for major-league players pitching in minor-league games to get their work in. But after finishing his six innings of work at the Bobby Mattick Training Centre on Tuesday, Jays' lefthander Ricky Romero made sure he worked his way down the dugout on the way back to major-league camp, shaking hands with all the young prospects. Romero used to be one for three springs and knows how much it means to the kids.
“I got some quality work in,” Romero said. “That was the biggest thing coming in. I wanted to work on a few pitches, the off-speed pitches early in the count and that's what we did. The thing right now is I'm feeling too good and that scares me because I tend to get a little excited and tend to overthrow at times. I felt like in the later innings, once I settled down, everything was good.”
Romero, pitching for Class-A Dunedin against a team of young Yankees, threw 88 pitches over six innings, allowing one run on six hits, with two walks and nine strikeouts. The lack of knowledge of the hitters he was facing allowed Romero to work on his own game.
“I walked in the dugout and I said, I guess I can't throw first-pitch fastballs to these guys,” Romero chuckled. “They're just hacking. I think it's good because you have to work on those first-pitch off-speed pitches and we threw a lot of those. A lot of first-pitch strikes. A lot of first-pitch changeups. Later in the innings we worked on fastballs inside which is good.”
Romero was passed over for the opening day assignment, with that honour going to Shaun Marcum. Romero, who went 13-9 in his rookie season, knows his time will likely come. “If there's one guy that deserves (the opener) it's definitely Shaun,” Romero said. “It's been a long road back and he's shown that he's ready. I'm excited for him. I'm excited to be part of the team. I can be the fifth guy for all I care. I just want to win. That's all I'm focused on. I grew up with a dream and that dream was to put on a big-league uniform. I don't take it for granted.”
The Jays on Tuesday enjoyed their third scheduled off-day of the spring. On Wednesday, the Jays travel to Port Charlotte to face the Rays, with Dana Eveland facing Jeff Niemann.
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Brandon Morrow did not have an off-day on Tuesday. The righthander went in for treatment in the training room at Dunedin Stadium in preparation for a bullpen session on Friday that will hopefully lead to his next start on Monday.
Morrow scratched himself from a start with soreness in his right shoulder on Friday in Kissimmee as he was warming up minutes before the game. He will be asked to go three innings against the Tigers, with one more start before the season opens.
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It was a high draft first inning for the Jays' Class-A team in support of Ricky Romero (1st round, '05). The first three batters were centre fielder Kenny Wilson (2nd round '08), shortstop Justin Jackson (1st round supplemental, '07) and catcher J.P. Arencibia (1st round '07).
Arencibia was borrowed for the day to catch Romero and was allowed to hit as the third batter of every inning. He was hitless in five at-bats.
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Lefthanded reliever Jesse Carlson is scheduled to throw from a mound on Wednesday for the second time in 14 days. He has been sidelined with discomfort in the medial collateral ligament (MCL) of his left knee. Carlson has made just one game appearance this spring.