Mar 18, 2014; Lakeland, FL, USA; Toronto Blue Jays third baseman Brett Lawrie (13) talks with starting pitcher Ricky Romero (24) on the mound in the third inning in a spring training exhibition game at Joker Marchant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Manning-USA TODAY Sports
Adam Berry recaps yesterday’s rough outing for Ricky Romero at BlueJays.com. Ricky struggled with command and control, throwing only 23 of his 57 pitches for strikes with five walks, two wild pitches and a hit batter. He told reporters after the game “I’ve had [too many] positives this spring to let one outing set me back.” However yesterday wasn’t the first time he’s had spotty control and for the most part his command is still non-existent. I’m not counting Romero out of an eventual comeback by any means but yesterday was a reality check for the 29-year-old lefty.
In the same game, Marcus Stroman threw batting practice to the Detroit Tigers (h/t John Lott, National Post) but to be honest, I’d really like to avoid talking about it. Okay I will, a bit. Stroman needs to stay on top of the ball and work down in the zone to find consistent success at the major league level. If he leaves the ball up, he’s more than hittable. You could say that about any pitcher really but this is where his height works against him – when he works up, he gets little-to-no plane on his pitches, making them flat and much easier to hit than a 6’6 giant who is still throwing down, even when it’s up in the zone.
Brandon Morrow also pitched yesterday in a minor league intersquad game after his scheduled Triple-A outing was cancelled due to wet fields (h/t Adam Berry, BlueJays.com). Taking on teammate Mark Buehrle, it was Morrow’s longest outing of the spring as he threw 63 total pitches with 36 being for strikes. Berry reports Morrow’s fastball velocity ranged from 90-95 MPH, sitting mostly at 92-93. He allowed two walk and two earned runs with two strikeouts in 3 2/3 innings and sounds optimistic about the outing.
"“Everything’s coming along well. I got established what I wanted to establish today with the fastball command, with the nice zip and pop on that, and you could see the guys were behind it at times, regardless of the velocity. It wasn’t my best velocity, but the swings tell you whether or not you’re locating well and the kind of life on it, so that was positive. Everything else has been coming along really well.”"
Lefty J.A. Happ is scheduled to return to the mound today and will start against the Philadelphia Phillies. He hasn’t pitched since March 3rd and has more walks this spring (5) than outs (4). To be fair, we should probably wait until he’s healthy to make any final judgement but I think for the most part, we know who Happ is – a pitcher who is just a shade above replacement level and should not be starting for a team that plans to compete in the American League East.