And sometimes those lofty expectations get a healthy dose of reality.
One of those doses of reality came forward on Monday, when we learned from Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca that the Blue Jays are closely monitoring the discomfort that Ricky Romero is experiencing in his knees this spring. Romero, the former staff ace turned fifth starter, had platlet-rich plasma injections in both knees following the completion of the 2012 season, as year in which he a career-worst 9-14 with a 5.77 ERA and 1.18 K/BB ratio.
After two bullpen sessions thus far this spring, Romero is still experiencing a decent level of discomfort and the Blue Jays are carefully monitoring the situation.
“We keep an eye on him,” manager John Gibbons said. “If he’s barking, we’ll shut him down or lighten the load, but when you have them at this stage of your career, it’s probably going to bother you your whole career. You basically just have to deal with it, there’s not structural problems, but you just grin and bear it, I guess.”
The good news is that Romero’s elbow is not experiencing the same level of discomfort. The left-hander had also undergone arthroscopic surgery on his pitching elbow to remove scar tissue, but has been throwing a full work-load this spring without complaints. Still, the knee is worth monitoring, because the team does not want to see Romero overcompensate on his delivery to lessen the load on his knees and then damage his arm in the process.
J.A. Happ is hereby on notice to be ready. With their sights set on the World Series, the Blue Jays will not take any chances with a pitcher getting hurt. Having a back-up option like Happ available on stand-by will give them a level of depth the team was lacking in 2012.
Brad Lincoln is also expected to get stretched out this spring as possible starting depth.