NEW YORK, New York - The Blue Jays, in need of good news amid the wreckage of a four-game series sweep at the hands of the Yankees, can look 1,800 kilometres south to find some.
Ricky Romero, the one time ace turned reclamation project, started Class A Dunedin's Saturday night game against Brevard County. In seven innings, Romero allowed one run on six hits and struck out four. Most encouraging, Romero didn't walk a batter and 14 of his 21 outs came on ground balls. He didn't record a fly ball out.
General manager Alex Anthopoulos and his staff have yet to determine Romero's next step.
"I want to speak to (roving pitching instructor) Dane (Johnson) and see what he feels,” said Anthopoulos. “If Dane says, look, let's move him up, let's keep him here for one more start, I'm really letting Dane, I'm really leaning on him to make the decisions on what he feels is best. You know, Dane's the one who decided he was ready for a start now. I'm not down there day in and day out; Dane is the one doing the work with him."
Romero is working on mechanical changes to his delivery, aimed at improving his pitch command. He no longer brings his hands over his head in the wind up, a seemingly small but noticeable adjustment, an attempt to limit wasted movement that complicates his delivery.
Anthopoulos spoke to the 28-year-old on Saturday.
"I spoke to him before his start, just to see how he's feeling, if he felt like the changes he made have been the right move and a step in the right direction,” said Anthopoulos. “And he feels he's like there's no question, the changes he's made have been good for him.”
R.A. DICKEY UPDATE
The knuckleballer will undergo an MRI, likely on the off day Monday, to try to determine the cause of his neck pain.
Dickey's been pitching at less than 100 percent in his last four starts; he's described the pain as a light stabbing sensation, the type one experiences with a muscle knot.
He expects to make his next start.
JOSH JOHNSON UPDATE
Johnson, who missed his scheduled start on Friday with triceps inflammation, did not play catch on Sunday. There was discussion that he would.
The aim, now, is for Johnson to play catch on Monday and work a bullpen session in the middle of the week. Thanks to the off day, Monday, the Blue Jays have the flexibility to push back Johnson's next start to Friday or Saturday.