Jays’ Romano Returns To Form

TORONTOJordan Romano is making a strong return from Tommy John surgery, while at the same time adjusting smoothly to a conversion from the bullpen to the rotation.

The 23-year-old righthander from Markham, Ont., had been sawing through hitters at low Class A Lansing since returning on June 13 with seven innings of two-hit ball and seven strikeouts against Great Lakes.

In his first eight starts, Romano recorded a 1.42 ERA and 1.13 WHIP through 38 innings. He struck out 41 batters and walked 18, numbers that are more impressive considering he had just 13 relief appearances in pro ball prior to this year.

“He has a bulldog mentality, electric stuff and he’s a plus athlete,” farm director Gil Kim said. “Going through the rehab program, (rehab pitching coach) Darold Knowles did a great job with him, and what we saw is that he had the athleticism to repeat a delivery—the natural tools—so we decided to give him a shot to be a starting pitcher.”

The Blue Jays selected Romano in the 10th round of the 2014 draft out of Oral Roberts, where he was a closer, so his workload will need to be monitored.

That’s one reason why he was removed following a sixth-inning walk on July 14 after five no-hit innings. A fielding error, fielder’s choice and sacrifice fly allowed that walk to score, and Romano ended up with the loss despite a combined six-inning no-hitter.

The Blue Jays placed him on the disabled list afterward for some pre-planned rest in the wake of the Tommy John surgery. Once reactivated, the focal points for Romano will remain fastball command and building up his innings count.

“He’s a great worker,” Kim said. “He showed impressive motivation and work habits to get to where he is now.”


• Righthander T.J. Zeuch, the first-rounder from Pittsburgh, made his pro debut in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League, throwing three clean innings with two strikeouts before he was promoted to short-season Vancouver. The 6-foot-7, 225-pound Zeuch allowed two runs on four hits and two walks over three innings in his first outing for the Canadians.

Dalton Pompey returned from a concussion on July 8 after missing three weeks. The outfielder went 19-for-56 (.339) with a homer and six walks in his first 16 games back at Triple-A Buffalo.

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