Romero needs to finish stronger

MIKE RUTSEY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 6:51 PM ET

DUNEDIN, Fla. — It was the final tuneup for Ricky Romero.

The next start for the Blue Jays 26-year-old left-hander will come on April 1, when he’s on the mound facing the Minnesota Twins on Opening Day.

It has been a rough spring for Romero, who closed out his Florida on Sunday by pitching five quality innings, before getting hammered in the sixth.

It was far from the Orioles opening day lineup — in fact not one player in the lineup was a starter — and Romero mostly breezed through five, holding the O’s to four hits and one run.

In the sixth, though, it went single, strikeout, RBI single, RBI double, two-run home run. After Nick Green hit the bomb, Romero was lifted.

In four of his five starts against ‘A’ squads this spring, he has allowed four or more runs.

Afterwards a dejected Romero summed up his spring and Sunday’s outing with one word — frustrating.

“It’s been a frustrating spring,” he said. “I guess I’m glad it’s over and just move on to the season.

“To start and end like this, especially when you’re feeling healthy and feeling good, the past two games, no walks, throwing strikes, getting ahead of guys (and not finishing them off) ... I don’t know what to say.”

It was his second start since he suffered an inflammation on the middle finger of his left hand, a development that caused him to skip a start. In two starts since, Romero has allowed nine earned runs on 14 hits over 91/3 innings. In 191/3 innings this spring, Romero allowed 24 hits and sports a 7.91 ERA.

“My confidence is good,” he said. “I know what I can do. I know I can get the job done with the best and I know what I can do when the lights turn on. I’m just ready for Friday.”

Manager John Farrell also chose to spout the positives.

“Actually, I thought today was his best consistency of quality strikes all spring,” he said. “What he needs to keep in mind is that his first five innings was the best assortment and execution of pitches all spring.”

Any worries?

“No alarms from this end,” Farrell said.

We’ll see.


Photos