Remember when Ricky Romero was the Blue Jays' best starting pitcher? It wasn't actually that long ago: two years ago, Ricky Romero was an All-Star! Since Opening Day of 2012, Romero's 9-16 with a 5.92 in the majors ... and a lot worse in the minors, where he's been asked to completely revamp his pitching mechanics.
Well, no more. From Brendan Kennedy (via thestar.com):
Ricky Romero says it’s on him now.
His struggle is his problem. So he’s throwing out all the mechanical adjustments the Toronto Blue Jays have made to his delivery this season and going back to pitching as he always has. If he fails now, it will be on his terms.
"It’s my career, man," the embattled left-hander told the Star on Tuesday. "Enough with the mechanical stuff."
Romero will make his next start for Buffalo on Thursday. Though he currently holds an 11.84 ERA in five Triple-A starts, he hasn’t been all bad. He allowed five runs in six innings his last time on the mound, but didn’t walk anybody — the biggest positive sign. The start before that was a nightmare: He gave up eight earned runs in just two-thirds of an inning. Five days earlier, he pitched five mostly-solid innings. He gave up one run on four hits and a walk, and carried a 7-1 lead into the sixth inning — only to blow it all by walking the first four batters he faced in the sixth. "I’m very curious to see how he does this next start," Anthopoulos said.
Romero said he’s still focusing on finishing his pitches — ensuring that he follows through and doesn’t fall off as he releases the ball.
"I think at times I felt really robotic out there," he said, about the changes he made to his delivery. "This was never mechanical."
One can't help wondering, of course, that if this was never mechanical, why revamp his mechanics? Well, probably because baseball teams employ a lot more people who can fix your delivery (or think they can fix your delivery) than people who can fix your head (or think they can fix your head).
If someone's got Steve Blass Disease, you can say, "Hey, stop having Steve Blass Disease" or you can say, "Shoot, pardner. There ain't nothing wrong with you that a few mechanical adjustments and a month in the bus leagues won't fix." The Blue Jays tried the first of those last season, and it didn't work. So you can't really blame them for trying the second this season.
That didn't work, either. So now it's completely up to Romero. History's not on his side, but we can still hope for the best.