The former highly-touted pitching prospect, and former All-Star, has seen a career that was on the rise - three straight seasons with an improvement in wins - come crumbling down. He was demoted to Single-A Dunedin during spring training to try and re-find his game and refocus.
After a month pitching in the Florida State League, mostly doing bullpen sessions and simulated games, Romero was called up by the Blue Jays on May 3. Apparently after just six innings of live game action, management in Toronto viewed him as ready to once again pitch in the major leagues.
Romero responded to the call up by looking like a pitcher who has yet to regain the confidence he so obviously lost during the 2012 season when he lost 13 straight decisions after starting the year 8-2, and finished with a 5.77 ERA. He went just four innings in his first game on May 3, allowing three runs on three hits with three walks against the Seattle Mariners. His second game wasn't much better.
Actually, it was the shortest outing of his professional career. Romero was pulled after just one-third of an inning after giving up three runs on four hits in the Jays 10-4 loss to Tampa Bay on May 8.
Those two outings were all Blue Jays management needed to see before optioning the 28-year old Romero to AAA-Buffalo. But to all those thinking that this is yet another sad sign in the fall of a once promising prospect, don't think that way just yet.
Romero being in Buffalo is exactly what the kid needs. He's finally in the place where he needed to be all along, especially before getting the call to Toronto.
Romero needs to regain the confidence and swagger that he had when he had a 2.92 ERA and went 15-11 for the Jays in 2011. Buffalo could be just the place for that to happen.
Unlike the parent club north of the border, the Bisons have seen success through the first month of the 2013 season, especially at the plate. Buffalo boasts four of the top five batters in terms of average in all of Triple-A baseball. They are producing runs at a torrid pace which is allowing a not-so-stellar pitching staff to have "success".
That type of situation is exactly what Romero needs to be in.
He won't be looked upon to hold opposing teams to one, two, or even three runs in Buffalo due to being on a team that is averaging 5.4 runs per game. By not having the pressure on his shoulders to perform at a Cy Young level every outing, Romero can go out to the mound and just pitch the way everyone, including himself, knows he can.
All he needs is a few good outings, and the Romero of old could be close to making a comeback.
Michael Straw is a sportswriter who lives in Buffalo, NY and has been covering baseball, primarily at the Triple-A level, for two years. He began covering the Blue Jays in the fall of 2012, and has been published in multiple Western New York publications.
For Blue Jays and other sports news, follow Michael on Twitter @MikeStrawQCS.
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