TORONTO -- Ricky Romero would like to forget all about the 2013 season, but at least it's ending on somewhat of a positive note after the former ace made his return to a Major League mound on Tuesday night at Rogers Centre.
Romero was expected to be Toronto's No. 5 starter this season but instead spent the vast majority of the year pitching in Triple-A Buffalo. With the exception of two starts in May he didn't receive a shot with the Blue Jays until a recent September callup.
It has been an incredibly frustrating year for the 28-year-old, but he's back and has an outing under his belt after allowing one run over two innings vs the Angels in Toronto's 12-6 loss.
"It felt great, just hearing the reception from the fans was pretty cool," Romero said. "Obviously it's a little different situation coming in late, but it felt great to be back out there."
Romero's first inning out of the bullpen was flawless as he recorded three consecutive outs in the seventh, but he hit a road block during his second frame. Romero retired the first batter he faced before surrendering a single to Mark Trumbo and issuing a walk to Chris Iannetta.
The lone earned run came later in the frame, when Los Angeles' Kole Calhoun recorded an RBI single to right, but Romero was then able to limit the damage and escape the frame without any other runs. It wasn't perfect by any means, but the performance took a back seat to getting back to his familiar spot -- even if this time it's coming out of the bullpen.
"You have to stay mentally ready, and any time that phone rings I never realized how much craziness goes on down there," Romero said. "It's a little different, but it's the role they've given me for now, and I'm doing whatever it takes to feel like myself again. [Tuesday] was definitely one of those nights where I got excited, but we got done what we wanted to get done."
Blue Jays honour first responders in 9/11 ceremony
TORONTO -- The Blue Jays paid tribute to the tragic events of 9/11 by having members of the Toronto police, EMS and fire departments on hand for a pregame ceremony on Wednesday night at Rogers Centre.
Deputy Commander Leo Leach of the Toronto EMS sang the national anthems for Canada and the United States, while Deputy Chief Mark Saunders of the Toronto police force threw out the ceremonial first pitch.
Players often have the option of staying inside the clubhouse during national anthems, but on this night the full roster for both the Blue Jays and Angels were on the field to pay their respects.
The ceremony was designed to honor the first responders who risked their lives on Sept. 11, 2001. The Blue Jays wore both the Canadian and American flags on their hats to represent the partnership between the two countries during the immediate aftermath of the tragic event.
Blue Jays monitoring Encarnacion's sprained wrist
TORONTO -- Edwin Encarnacion missed his third consecutive game Wednesday night, and the Blue Jays remain uncertain about when he'll be able to get back into the lineup.
Encarnacion had been out since Sunday afternoon with a sprained left wrist. It's an issue he has been dealing with for most of the season but became a little more serious after a swing during Saturday night's 12-6 loss to the Angels.
The 30-year-old first baseman hasn't been able to swing a bat since and will need to test his wrist in the cage or during batting practice before he can be cleared to return on the field.
"He's still day to day," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "He feels better, but he's still not good enough to play."
The Blue Jays have only 17 games remaining in the season, so the clock is ticking on Encarnacion's ability to get back into the lineup. If he suffers any type of setback he could be shut down for the season, but at least for now Toronto remains optimistic that won't be necessary.
Encarnacion does have plenty of incentive to get back into the lineup even with the Blue Jays not in contention for a spot in the postseason. Encarnacion is just four home runs shy of 40 and is looking to become the first Blue Jays player to reach that mark in consecutive seasons since Jose Bautista did it from 2010-11.
"It's too painful right now, but we'll see where it goes," Gibbons said. "But he's definitely not ready today."