DUNEDIN - J.P. Arencibia had a front row seat to Thursday’s debacle that was Ricky Romero.
Back of the plate offers the best perspective but when it comes to righting
the Romero ship, Arencibia has no answers.
But he does have faith.
“I thought in the first inning he was good and then the command got a little off,” Arencibia said of Romero’s performance at minor-league camp against a class-A Pittsburgh squad. “I think he’s been there before and he was an all-star that year so I think it’s nothing to look too far into.”
Just what can he do when he’s catching him to help right the Romero ship that is listing badly these days?
“You try everything, you try different things, to see if there’s a pitch you can call,” he replied. “Part of spring training is getting ready for (Opening Day) and you’re going to have to try different things out. Hitters do it, pitchers do, infielders do it, everyone does it to make adjustments and once Opening Day comes you’re ready to go.”
Part of Romero’s problem right now is in the adjustments that are being made to his delivery, specifically the landing of his front foot and having him shift to the third-base side of the rubber. The hope is he will end in a more direct line to the plate and not throw across his body to the same
degree. Perhaps he’s thinking to much about his mechanics instead of just letting the ball fly.
“It’s tough to ... it’s habit, so you’re trying to break a habit,” Arencibia said. “Earlier it was better (the first inning) but it might have got away from him later but I think (he needs) more repetition to get to where he needs to be.
“It’s there but it’s being able to get that muscle memory back and feeling
it and after that it kind of takes off.”
He is convinced that his friend and teammate will overcome the problem.
“He’s fine and he’s been here before, been in this situation before,” Arencibia said of Romero’s past struggles, especially at spring training in 2009 when he made the team for the first time. “I think sometimes it gets too much play because of last year (when Romero struggled to a 9-14 record
with a 5.77 ERA).
“There’s a lot of time left and the guy’s been one of the best pitchers in the AL for a few years already, so it’s about him going out there and finding whatever rhythm it is to help him succeed.
“You trust in your player and you know what you have there and you don’t worry about it. You just do what you need to do to keep on going forward.”