The veteran left-hander threw 29 pitches Wednesday night and got only one out before being removed from the game, and the Blue Jays went on to lose 10-4 to the Tampa Bay Rays.
Romero (0-2) gave up two walks and four singles, three of which drove in runs in the first inning. It was the shortest start of his career and the quickest exit by a Toronto pitcher since Esteban Loaiza got only one batter out on July 2, 2001.
"The competitor in me obviously doesn't want to come out of that game and wants to stay in, but obviously it didn't happen," Romero said. "It's (John Gibbons') call. I'm not going to sit here and question it. He's the manager. He makes those decisions. You've got to respect that."
After RBI singles by Evan Longoria, James Loney and Luke Scott, the Rays had a 3-2 lead and they kept it, breaking the Blue Jays' three-game win streak. When Edgar Gonzalez came in to relieve Romero, the Rays had the bases loaded.
"We were still in the game. We scored two and they were on the verge of blowing it out," Gibbons said in explaining his early hook. "I thought (Romero) was a little tentative tonight ... it was a struggle for him. It's tough on everybody. You feel for the guy, but he's a survivor. He'll figure it out. He's got to figure it out."
Matt Moore (6-0) allowed two runs, six hits and four walks in five innings to earn the win for the Rays.
Longoria added a two-run homer to his RBI single and Kelly Johnson had three hits, including a two-run shot.
Edwin Encarnacion spotted the Jays a 2-0 lead with a two-run homer off Moore in the first inning and drove in a run with a sacrifice fly.
Romero, who lost his rotation spot after a poor spring and remained in Florida when the season began, will get another start, Gibbons said.
"I know this is where I belong and I'll continue to say that. I could care less what anyone thinks," said Romero. "You can't forget what I've done. My track record isn't very big but you can't forget what I've down the last four years."
Less than 24 hours after he was hit on the head by a line drive and carted off the field, Toronto pitcher J.A. Happ was back at Tropicana Field. The 30-year-old said he had a skull fracture behind his left ear that doctors believe will heal on its own, as well as a sore right knee that he tweaked when he dropped to the ground Tuesday night. He does not have a concussion.
"I feel really fortunate," Happ said after limping into a news conference and climbing a couple steps to sit down behind a table.
NOTES: Thursday night's series finale will have Toronto knuckleballer R.A. Dickey (2-5) going against Tampa Bay's David Price (1-3) in a matchup of reigning Cy Young Award winners and friends. "Neither one of us are probably where we want to be at this part of the year," Dickey said. "I think he would say the same thing, but it's special anytime the reigning Cy Young Award winners face each other." The Rays say it's just the third time since the Cy Young was awarded to both leagues (1969) that a pair of winners faced each other the following season. Tom Glavine of Atlanta beat the New York Yankees' Roger Clemens on July 15, 1999, while New York Mets left-hander Frank Viola bested the Los Angeles Dodgers' Orel Hershiser on Aug. 28, 1989. ... Joe Maddon won his 600th game as Rays manager, but wasn't around to see the end after being ejected by plate umpire Scott Barry in the sixth. It was the second straight game Maddon was tossed. ... The Blue Jays placed Happ on the 15-day disabled list and purchased the contract of Gonzalez from Triple-A Buffalo.