TORONTO -- Ricky Romero's tumultuous 2013 season has taken another turn in the wrong direction.
Toronto's former No. 1 starter got the call for Triple-A Buffalo on Monday night, but was unable to pitch his way out of the first inning.
Romero surrendered eight runs on five hits and three walks while recording just two outs. He threw just 13 of his 32 pitches for strikes, as his well-documented control issues continued to plague him.
The 28-year-old Romero now owns a 13.85 ERA in four starts with the Bisons. He's allowed 23 hits and 20 walks in just 13 innings of work, and the Blue Jays have to be wondering what steps they can take from here.
Romero was cut by the Blue Jays at the end of Spring Training to overhaul his mechanics on the mound. He spent almost a month in extended spring training in an effort to change his delivery and limit the way he throws across his body.
The native of East Los Angeles had one encouraging outing for Class A Dunedin before being promoted to the Major League level. That stint lasted just two starts, as he allowed six runs in 4 1/3 innings before being sent down on May 9.
While Romero struggles to find his previous form, right-hander Dustin McGowan continues to make progress in his comeback from a right-shoulder injury. McGowan, who is currently on the 60-day disabled list, also pitched for Triple-A Buffalo on Monday night.
McGowan allowed one run on one hit and one walk while striking out three over two innings of work. He threw 20 of his 33 pitches for strikes, but there is no immediate timeframe on when he will be ready to re-join the Blue Jays.
Kawasaki making case to stay long-term
TORONTO -- The Blue Jays have yet to make any final decisions on what will happen to shortstop Munenori Kawasaki when Jose Reyes eventually returns from his left-ankle injury.
Kawasaki took over the full-time duties when Reyes was lost during the second week of April. Reyes is expected to return some time in late June, and the Blue Jays will understandably reserve final judgement on Kawasaki until then.
"That's all premature until Reyes comes back, but I know one thing, he has played very well for us," manager John Gibbons said. "When the time comes, we'd definitely like to keep him, that's for sure. But we don't know when Reyes is coming back, either."
Kawasaki immediately became a fan favorite in Toronto and he's also been a hit in the clubhouse for his comedic nature. The native of Japan doesn't have a particularly strong throwing arm, nor does he possess any power at the plate, but he has picked his moments well this season.
One example of that came during Sunday's 6-5 victory over Baltimore, when he recorded a walk-off double to the gap in left-center field. He then thrilled fans with a hilarious postgame interview on the field during which be read from a book of prepared statements.
Those moments make for interesting storylines, but they won't come into account when Gibbons and general manager Alex Anthopoulos eventually sit down to make roster decisions. With a roster that already includes Emilio Bonifacio, Maicer Izturis -- who is on a multi-year contract -- and Mark DeRosa, it will be difficult for Kawasaki to stick on the big league roster.
But Gibbons says that's a problem for another day. Until then, the club will attempt to get all it can from Kawasaki.
"Everything he does, he does right," Gibbons said. "It's like anybody else, you don't always get the results you want, but he approaches it the right way. He does everything right, whether it's baserunning or fundamentals, relay throws, hitting in the right spot at the right time, he does all of those things."
Kawasaki entered play on Monday night with a .247 average, a .345 on-base percentage and five extra-base hits in 37 games this season.