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Ricky Romero to pitch out of Blue Jays bullpen

09/06/2013 02:05 EDT | Updated 11/06/2013 05:12 EST
The mystery that is pitcher Ricky Romero’s September role with the Toronto Blue Jays became clearer Friday.

Romero, a former 15-game winner with the Jays, spent much of this season in the minor leagues attempting to regain his once-all-star form.

On Friday, Toronto manager John Gibbons told MLB Network Radio that the left-hander, whom the Blue Jays recalled from triple-A Buffalo on Monday, would pitch out of the bullpen in the short term with the possibility of receiving a spot start in case of emergency.

Romero made two starts for the Blue Jays on May 3 and 8 against Seattle and Tampa Bay, respectively, allowing a combined six earned runs on seven hits in 4 1/3 innings pitched for a 12.46 earned-run average.

The 28-year-old probably wouldn’t have been recalled during the final month of the Blue Jays season if major league teams weren’t allowed to expand their 40-man roster on Sept. 1.

“I just want to go out and compete, get some outs and end the season on a good note,” Romero, who posted a 5-8 record and 5.78 ERA in 23 starts for the Bisons, told reporters. “That’s the biggest thing: To take advantage of this opportunity.

“It’s been a long year but I’m glad I’m here, surrounded by [the Blue Jays players].”

Recently, Anthopoulos said he doesn’t expect Romero to remain on the club’s 40-man roster entering 2014 spring training.

“He’s had starts where you definitely believe [a turnaround isn’t far away] and … he’s had some other starts where he hasn’t performed as well,” said Toronto general manager Alex Anthopoulos of a return to form by Romero, who went 15-11 with a 2.92 ERA in 2011 but struggled last season (9-14, 5.77).

The results didn’t improve at spring training in March when Romero sported an ERA above 6.00 and opposing hitters were averaging .353 against him in 13 innings over five starts.

“As tough as the road has been,” he said, “I’ve never stopped believing. I’ve been a fighter my whole life and overcome so many things in my career and my life and I am not going to let this defeat me."

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