Title: Ricky Romero Is Determined to Make an Improbable Comeback to the Majors
Date: December 19, 2017
Original Source: Vice
Synopsis: For my latest at Vice, I wrote about Ricky Romero, whose injury struggles – mental and physical – are behind him as he attempts to make a comeback.
Ricky Romero wakes up to the same message every morning.
“I will pitch in the big leagues in 2018,” says an audio recording of himself that serves as his phone’s alarm clock.
It’s a stretch goal, to be sure. Once the No. 6 overall pick of the Toronto Blue Jays in the 2005 draft, Romero last pitched in the majors in 2013. Last season, he was released from a minor-league contract by the San Francisco Giants and later, at his request, by the Tijuana Toros of the independent Mexican League. Still, Romero has found his way back to a headspace where he’s waking up with a positive mantra each morning, and more importantly, to where he’s enjoying pitching again.
Getting there has not been easy.
For so long, a long-term major league future seemed a certainty. Romero debuted with the Blue Jays in 2009, throwing 178 innings and looking every bit the promising rookie his draft pedigree suggested he could be. A strong 2010 followed, with Romero establishing himself as something of a workhorse, and 2011 saw him earn his first All-Star nod, an American League Pitcher of the Month award, and two down-ballot votes for the Cy Young. Armed with a changeup that often baffled hitters, the southpaw fashioned a 2.92 ERA over 225 innings, and even if some over-performance relative to peripherals could be priced in, it seemed the Jays had a rotation anchor for years to come.