Jordan Romano was named an All-Star after replacing Framber Valdez, who Astros manager Dusty Baker didn't want to risk on short rest, especially so soon after his return from injury. Ironically, there is now a possibility it will be the Blue Jays reliever who will miss time through injury.
After entering the game in the seventh inning, it appeared that Romano was going to leave an unwanted mark on the Midsummer Classic. Former Blue Jay Lourdes Gurriel Jr. hit what originally looked like a home run, before video replay ruled it a foul ball.
A tight feeling
Although the 30-year-old dodged this particular bullet, he had to leave the game with tightness in his lower back. It transpired he had first felt the tightness when throwing his last pitch in the bullpen, but hoped he would loosen up once he was in the game.
However, after speaking to the American League training staff, the decision was made that Romano should depart for precautionary reasons. He was understandably frustrated by the turn of events.
After not appearing in last year's All-Star Game despite being selected to the roster for the first time, the Markham, Ontario native was looking forward to pitching this time around. As per Shi Davidi of Sportsnet, he said:
"The thing is, you really want to pitch, right? All-Star Game. First time getting in there. But I was thinking we have we have the real season to prepare for, I didn't want to push through it and make it a real serious issue."
Romano was unsurprisingly discombobulated, due to the combination of the back tightness and initially thinking he'd given up a home run to just the second batter he faced. As per Davidi, he continued:
"My head was kind of spinning a little because I was like, ‘Oh man, I don't know if I can keep going here.’ There was a lot going on. (Lourdes) put a good swing on it, but I was glad it was foul. That was it regardless there.
The righty made sure to contact the Blue Jays as soon as feasibly possible after exiting the game. The plan is for him to meet with the training and medical staff on Wednesday, after his return to Toronto.
An anxious wait
As much as the injury doesn't sounds like it is anything serious, there are of course no guarantees. As such, everyone connected with the Blue Jays will await any updates with baited breath.
It will obviously be a blow to the Blue Jays, if Romano has to miss any playing time through injury. He is having a fine season for the team, highlighted by a Major League-leading 26 saves and being on course for the lowest single-season walk-rate of his career.
The 2014 10th round draft pick has developed into an extremely reliable pitcher for the Blue Jays, since making his Major League debut back in 2019. He has made 196 appearances to date, compiling a 2.64 ERA and 1.089 WHIP in the process.