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The Globe and Mail

Ricky Romero enjoys privileged status in Jays starting rotation

Toronto Blue Jays pitcher J.A. Happ delivers against the Boston Red Sox during the seventh inning of American League MLB baseball action at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts July 21, 2012. This is Happ's debut with the Toronto Blue Jays.

Jessica Rinaldi/REUTERS

When the Toronto Blue Jays obtained pitcher J.A. Happ in a 10-player deal on Friday, general manager Alex Anthopoulos said all the starters in the rotation were on notice that another bad outing could result in them losing their spot.

Blue Jays manager John Farrell said on Tuesday that edict doesn't include Ricky Romero, the ace of the staff who has struggled as much as anybody else in his recent outings.

"I think some guys have earned the right to have a longer stay than others," Farrell said on Tuesday as the Blue Jays readied for their game against the Oakland A's at Rogers Centre.

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Happ is known commodity as a Major League starter, the reason the pitching thin Blue Jay made the trade to acquire him. Since he joined the Blue Jays, Happ has worked less than one inning out of the bullpen.

Farrell was asked if it would take multiple failures by one of the current members of the starting staff to get Happ into the rotation where he belongs.

"I wouldn't say multiple," Farrell said. "As mentioned when he was acquired, we would evaluate each turn through the rotation as such. He's been someone who has been an established Major League starter.

"That's not to say that we go into every day looking for someone to have a less than par performance. But we know that he's a very capable Major League starter."

Romero, however, has earned the right for a longer leash than the other current starters.

In his last start in New York against the Yankees on July 18, Romero was raked for six runs in six innings and has now lost five consecutive decisions. His record, once 8-1, is now 8-6.

In his last five starts, Romero is pitching to an 8.33 ERA where opponents have enjoyed a .354 batting average and a .438 on-base percentage.

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Romero's next start will come on Wednesday in the second game of the three-game set against Oakland.

Farrell also reported that an MRI on the forearm of reliever Jason Frasor did not reveal any structural damage, which is good news.

"It does show inflammation in the forearm area," Farrell said. "He is in a no-throw for two weeks."

Farrell also said that outfielder Jose Bautista continues to progress quickly from the wrist injury that landed him on the 15-day disabled list.

He said if Bautista continues along the same path there is a chance he could be taking some swings with a bat off a tee by the end of the week.

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