TORONTO - Ricky Romero is back with the Blue Jays and will start Friday night's series opener against the Seattle Mariners.
"He's good enough right now where it's time to give him that shot," said manager John Gibbons. "Let's face it, we need a guy for tomorrow night so he was scheduled to start tonight, his second start, so he's basically on schedule to skip today and he'll be ready to go tomorrow."
Romero, 28, takes the place of Josh Johnson, who's been placed on the 15-day disabled list with inflammation in his right triceps. Johnson's trip to the disabled list has been made retroactive to April 29 to facilitate the recall of reliever Brad Lincoln from Triple-A Buffalo.
Romero won 42 games in his first three big league seasons (2009-2011.) He was an American League all star in 2011 when he went 15-11 with a 2.92 ERA. Romero's production plummeted last year when he went just 9-14 with an ERA of 5.77. He co-led the majors in walks, with San Diego's Edinson Volquez, with 105.
After struggling through spring training, Romero was optioned to class-A Dunedin to continue work on a revamped delivery. He made his first start for Dunedin last Saturday, allowing one run on four hits over seven innings.
In his first start of the season, Saturday with Dunedin, Romero allowed one run on four hits over seven innings. He struck out six Brevard County hitters and walked none. The Blue Jays were impressed with Romero's 14:0 groundball to fly ball ratio.
"We had our scouts down there," said Gibbons. "You don't necessarily look at the level, who he's facing. You look at what he was doing, the action on the ball, what's he doing in the strike zone, those things instead of necessarily who he's facing. Everybody liked what they saw."
Johnson, who last pitched on April 21 against the Yankees, was scheduled to throw a bullpen session on Wednesday. It was cancelled when Johnson experienced continuing discomfort while playing catch. What's next for Johnson, beyond travelling south, remains to be seen.
"He's headed down to Florida and he'll get his treatment down there and he'll get looked at down there and (we'll) just kind of see to make sure there was nothing they missed the first time," said Gibbons.
Johnson is 0-1 with a 6.86 ERA in four starts. He is eligible to come off the disabled list on May 14.
Lincoln, 27, is 0-1 with a 9.00 ERA in two appearances for the Blue Jays this season. He's 1-0 with an ERA of 3.72 in six appearances with Buffalo.