Game 123: Tampa Bay at Toronto
After Ricky Romero’s outing against the Red Sox on Tuesday, when the rookie left after allowing six runs in just 3.2 innings, Blue Jays pitching coach Brad Arnsberg decided to switch things up for the pitcher.
“Right after my last start against Boston,” Romero recalled, “as soon as I went into the dugout, he was like, ‘We have nothing to work on. You’re not going to throw a bullpen this week.’”
So, Romero listened and skipped his usual between-start mound workout. Instead, he did one light flat-ground before taking the mound again on Sunday. Romero then limited the Angels to two runs over six innings en route to his 11th win of the season.
Romero said the lighter work load helped. The young lefty noted that he felt much stronger as the game went on against Los Angeles.
“I did,” he said. “I was talking to some of the guys about it. In the sixth inning, I was throwing kind of hard, as opposed to last week I think I ran out of gas pretty quick. My velocity was down a little bit, so people were wondering what was going on. I wanted to come back and kind of show them that I’m good.”
Going forward, Romero said he may or may not be throwing bullpens between outings — it’ll depend on how he feels. This week, an off-day on Thursday will help and he is scheduled to make his next start on Saturday — not Friday. That will give him an extra day to rest his arm, which has logged 145.2 innnings between Triple-A and MLB this year.
After they pitch on Sept. 4-5, respectively, the Jays plan on shutting rookie lefties Brett Cecil and Marc Rzepczynski down for the season due to innings limitations — roughly 150 for Cecil and 160 for Zep. Romero does not face a similar problem. His career-high in innings is 164.1 in ’08 and he’ll likely fall around 190 this season.
That is if Romero averages roughly six innings per start down the stretch. Having 30-40 more innings than the previous season is what the Blue Jays try to shoot for with their young arms (see: Cecil and Rzep). Romero said he feels great right now health-wise and plans on pitching through the end of the year.
“I already told them that I’m fresh,” Romero said. “I’m ready to go through the whole year. I just look at it as, if i’m going to be one of the guys here, I feel like I need to go the whole year and kind of get on that consistent year-to-year thing. My arm is fresh. It feels good. I haven’t had any arm problems all year and I bounce back pretty quick.”
OTHER ITEMS: The Blue Jays activated LHP Scott Downs from the 15-day disabled list prior to Monday’s game against the Rays and placed Edwin Encarnacion (left hamstring/knee) on the 15-day DL. Downs moves into the bullpen, but might not be used as the closer right away. RHP Jason Frasor has held that role since Downs has been out. … Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston said that ace Roy Halladay will make his next start on Sunday in Boston, giving the right-hander an extra day of rest.
TAMPA BAY RAYS (67-56)
Third place AL East, 10.5 GB
1. Jason Bartlett, SS
2. Carl Crawford, LF
3. Evan Longoria, 3B
4. Ben Zobrist, 2B
5. Carlos Pena, 1B
6. Pat Burrell, DH
7. Gregg Zaun, C
8. Gabe Gross, RF
9. B.J. Upton, CF
Starter: RHP Jeff Niemann (11-5, 3.71)
1. Marco Scutaro, SS
2. Aaron Hill, 2B
3. Adam Lind, LF
4. Lyle Overbay, 1B
5. Vernon Wells, CF
6. Randy Ruiz, DH
7. Rod Barajas, C
8. Travis Snider, RF
9. Jose Bautista, 3B
Starter: RHP Roy Halladay (13-6, 2.78)
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