BOSTON, Massachusetts - As the Blue Jays were winning two out of three in Boston with a piecemeal starting rotation, the franchise's one-time ace was making his first start with Triple-A Buffalo.
Ricky Romero's outing, on Saturday in Louisville, was more of the same from the struggling left-hander.
"Saw the line and obviously it wasn't a very good one," said pitching coach Pete Walker. "I'm sure he's not real happy (today.) I guess it's a little disappointing to see those numbers but I know he's still working hard and I still think he's on the right path. Hopefully he can stay positive and continue to go out there and pitch."
The line Walker's talking about: 3 2/3 innings, six earned runs, 10 hits, five walks, no strikeouts, a wild pitch and a balk. Romero threw 76 pitches, of which only 41 were strikes.
Even more disconcerting is the fact Romero was only three days removed from a disastrous start for the Blue Jays in Tampa Bay, in which he faced seven hitters and recorded only one out before being lifted from the game.
"I think anytime anybody has returned from the big leagues to the minor leagues it's always a letdown," said Walker. "Those Triple-A hitters can swing the bat. I mean, there's a lot of good players down there and I'm sure most major leaguers can attest to that. When they go down for the first time or when they're first sent down when they're in the big leagues, it's always a little bit of a letdown. Mentally you go out there and you think you can just go out there and do what you need to do but they swing the bat and they can put you in some tough situations."
There is no timeline for Romero's return to the major leagues. Manager John Gibbons has said the left-hander needs to rack up innings, to compete away from the major league spotlight.
Surely there is at least concern, at worst doubt, about Romero's ability to return to pre-2012 form. Getting ping ponged to the majors for two unsuccessful starts and back to the minors can't have been a positive experience for an already fragile psyche.
The physiological aspect of Project: Romero is still considered relatively minor.
"He's moved his foot in line to home plate about 12 to 14 inches over. It's an adjustment but it's not like it's, we're changing arm slot and changing major things. It's an undertaking though, don't get me wrong, I still think it takes a lot of work and time. But I think, you know, he's made a commitment to it and I think still in the long run it's better for him. It's just a matter of him getting results."
MELKY CABRERA TO GET WORLD SERIES RING
San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy will have a special gift for Melky Cabrera on Tuesday. A World Series ring.
"That's a big blessing God sent me," said Cabrera through his interpreter, third base coach Luis Rivera. "They called me and they told me that they would give me a ring. I asked them to ship it and they said, 'No, we're going to give it to you when we go to Toronto.' It's special for me."
Cabrera was leading the majors with a .346 batting average when he was suspended for 50 games for performance enhancing drug use last August 15.
Despite being eligible to return for the National League Championship Series, the Giants didn't reinstate Cabrera.
BRANDON MORROW ON TARGET FOR WEDNESDAY START
Morrow, who was scratched from his scheduled start Friday and rescheduled start Sunday due to a back strain, threw a 30-pitch bullpen session and expects to be ready to pitch on Wednesday against the Giants.