Right after the World Series it was announced, via a press release, that Toronto Blue Jays left-handed pitcher Ricky Romero had arthroscopic elbow surgery--a "rather routine procedure." What many of us overlooked was the second part of the release, which mentioned that Romero also received platelet-rich plasma injections to both knees to counter the tendinitis he felt in his last start of the season.
When he was reporting to spring training a week ago, he told a media scrum that, while his elbow is "100 times better," his "knees have been a work in progress."
Sportsnet's Shi Davidi wrote a piece on those damaged knees. After a successful (but not necessarily pain-free) outing facing live batters today, Romero told Davidi:
"I feel like (the knees) are just kind of give and take, you know, you have your good days and your bad days [...] I'm just trying to keep them loose and not let them kind of get achy and tight. So we'll just see how they continue to feel every day."
Manager John Gibbons is not concerned right now--the club will decide what to do when that time comes--but he did say:
"You've got to have good strong legs, that's the whole foundation of pitching."
Despite Romero and Gibbons' downplaying of the discomfort, the situation has grown a little more worrisome for me. Although Romero received treatment on both knees, the injury that forced him to exit prematurely from his last start of 2012 was on his left quadriceps, the leg that bends quite a bit to generate power for the southpaw. Pain or discomfort and a decrease in speed may cause Romero to compensate, leading to improper mechanics which can result in poor performance or further injury. That it hasn't healed since last September makes me feel that this could be a long-term problem that will be there all season. And last year showed us all that Romero is fine with hiding pain from his team.
All this makes me feel a little uncomfortable, but let's hope everything turns out well and we won't have to see J.A. Happ make a start for a while longer. I will feel a lot better after actually seeing him pitching in a few spring games.
P.S. Nothing is wrong with Romero's toes.