MacArthur: Romero, Drabek return with something to prove

Scott MacArthur
9/4/2013 1:48:18 AM
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PHOENIX - One is looking to finally carve out a niche in the majors; one is hoping to reestablish himself at the big league level.
Kyle Drabek and Ricky Romero are back with the Blue Jays and as the club plays out the string of September games, the two have much to prove but no guarantees of the opportunities they'll get.
“They'll pitch,” said manager John Gibbons. “We're not sure exactly what role they're going to be in. Ricky just threw Sunday so he's off a few more days anyway. Drabek threw, I think it was Friday, so he wouldn't be available to throw until tomorrow anyway. We've got plenty of arms down there now.”
The Jays have committed to keeping Mark Buehrle, R.A. Dickey and J.A. Happ on a regular schedule and with three off days between now and the remainder of the season, opportunities to start will be few.
Don't forget, too, that Todd Redmond and Esmil Rogers continue to make their respective cases for regular turns. On merit, Redmond has earned the right to remain in the rotation for the rest of the season.
Romero's recall comes after a second consecutive down season, this one with Triple-A Buffalo. He posted a 5.78 ERA over 22 starts and averaged five walks per nine innings. His only two appearances with the Blue Jays were in May, both were losses and neither was pretty.
“Just go out there and compete and do what I know how to do,” said Romero of his recall. “That's go out there and get outs and just end on a good note. I think that's the biggest thing, just getting another opportunity and just take advantage of it.”
Romero leaned on Bisons pitching coach Bob Stanley for advice throughout the season. Stanley, remember, was on the mound for the infamous Bill Buckner error in the 1986 World Series. He knows a thing or two about facing adversity.
“I think, I mean a lot of the things that I've overcome is just the mental part of the game,” said Romero. “Early on I think that was kind of kicking my butt. Little by little I overcame it. It was tough to see those little victories along the way.”
Drabek has recovered from a second Tommy John elbow ligament replacement surgery.
Perhaps Drabek's most impressive statistic, in 14 minor league appearances at three levels, is his six walks in 43 innings of work.
“For me, personally, I think it's just mechanic wise, adding a little bit of turn that I had in high school and what the Jays wanted me to do,” said Drabek of his improved control. “I think it just has, it's more comfortable for me on the mound with each pitch.”
Like Romero, Drabek has battled emotional demons. There were times in 2011 and 2012, prior to the injury, when Drabek battled to control his pitches and his emotions.
He thinks he changed during his injury.
“Definitely learned more about myself and the game,” said Drabek. “I think, also, I grew up baseball wise. I started to figure out things that either I was or wasn't doing before surgery and I think it's helped.”
Of the five players who joined the Blue Jays on Tuesday, only Kyle Drabek was on the 40-man roster.
The club had one spot available and so to open another three spots, Melky Cabrera (knee) and Josh Johnson (forearm) were transferred to the 60-day disabled list and the club designated for assignment outfielder Mauro Gomez (.249/.322/.521, 29 HR with Triple-A Buffalo.)
In the eighth inning of Monday's game, Sergio Santos had his first career major league at bat and first professional at bat since 2009.
The former shortstop turned pitcher saw two sinking fastballs, which clocked 89 and 90 miles per hour, from Diamondbacks' starter Brandon McCarthy.
They seemed faster to a guy who hadn't hit in four years.
“Like a zillion miles an hour, no doubt about it,” said Santos. “It was pretty much almost surreal. It was a fun feeling, I mean it was good. I'm just hoping I can get another one.”
He used Mark DeRosa's batting helmet and a bat belonging to Melky Cabrera.
Santos grounded out to Diamondbacks third baseman Eric Chavez.
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