You can change Ricky Romero’s mechanics and change the catcher he is used to throwing to.
But in the mind of manager John Farrell, the secret to getting his pitcher back on track will only start when Romero starts to believe he has what it takes to win every challenge that’s facing him 60 feet, 6-inches away.
“Bottom line, what I’d like to see from Ricky is just to get back to the basic, where’s the tough kid from East L.A.?” Farrell said on Friday. “And just know that there’s a confrontation between he and the guy in the box. And trust that’s he’s got the upper hand, no matter what pitch is called, because he’s got the final say in that.”
Farrell said Romero has to get back to the point where he just let’s his natural competitiveness carry him through rather than perhaps over-think or over analyze every pitch before he even makes it.
As the Blue Jays prepare for a new series that will begin Friday night at Rogers Centre against the tough Detroit Tigers, much of the pre-game chatter still focused on Romero and his continuing struggles on the mound.
After blowing up for eight earned runs in just 1.1-innings of work during a 16-0 loss to the Oakland Athletics on Wednesday, Romero -- who is considered the team’s top-of-the-rotation hurler -- has lost his last six decisions.
His ERA has ballooned to 5.75 and his confidence appears to be shot.
The left-hander’s next start will come Monday in Seattle against the Mariners and the one change that will be made will come behind the plate where Jeff Mathis will get the call.
Mathis has taken over as Toronto’s frontline catcher in place of J.P. Arencibia, who is lost for six weeks after breaking a bone in his wrist during Wednesday’s game.
Over the last two years, Romero has pitched exclusively to Arencibia -- for all 32 starts last season and the 21 he has made so far in 2012.
Romero and Arencibia are close, both on and off the field, and the thinking is perhaps a new veteran presence behind the plate calling the shots will help reinvigorate Romero.
“I’m sure he’ll [Mathis] have different ideas, that’s to be expected,” Farrell said. “And that’s not to slight anyone. I know J.P. shared in a lot of the frustration with Ricky’s games because he is so familiar with him because there’s been such a history there with their battery matchup.”
“May this is a fresh look, maybe a breath of fresh air in some ways for Ricky.”
Farrell noted that Arencibia was behind the plate last season when Romero excelled, going 15-11 with a 2.92 ERA.
“There’s a pretty successful history there as well,” Farrell said.
Injured slugger Jose Bautista, who is eligible to come off the 15-day disabled list on Tuesday, will probably not even start swinging a bat until early in the week.
The Blue Jays had hoped that Bautista, who is sidelined with a strained left wrist, would be able to take some dry cut perhaps as early on Friday.
Farrell said that Bautista is still feeling some pain when he bends or twists the wrist to the extreme so that plan has been put on hold.
Farrell also said that injured pitcher Brandon Morrow (oblique) a light bullpen in Dunedin on Friday and all went well and that he is in line to pitch in a game for two innings on Sunday.