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Romano optioned as Blue Jays seek depth

@jessicacamerato
June 23, 2019

BOSTON -- It's the business of baseball. Despite making a strong impression on the Blue Jays since his Major League debut on June 12, Toronto optioned Jordan Romano to Triple-A Buffalo ahead of Sunday's game to make room on the roster for Sean Reid-Foley, who was recalled for the series

BOSTON -- It's the business of baseball.

Despite making a strong impression on the Blue Jays since his Major League debut on June 12, Toronto optioned Jordan Romano to Triple-A Buffalo ahead of Sunday's game to make room on the roster for Sean Reid-Foley, who was recalled for the series finale in Boston.

On Friday, Romano struck out five over 1 2/3 innings against the Red Sox. Despite giving up a walk-off home run, the reliever had shown enough in four games that Toronto manager Charlie Montoyo considered him part of the Blue Jays’ future.

Reid-Foley looks to keep things simple in return

But Toronto has a need in its rotation, which has been shorthanded without starter Edwin Jackson, who has been on the 10-day injured list with a lower back strain since Tuesday. Romano became the odd man out on Sunday because of his Minor League options, but assistant general manager Joe Sheehan expects he will return.

“First of all, we need some help depth-wise, innings-wise,” Sheehan said Sunday. “We’re a little light in the bullpen today, potentially tomorrow depending on how everything shakes out today. Getting Sean here was important from that standpoint. The counter move with Jordan [is] the unfortunate business reality of -- he has options remaining and that’s the move that follows.”

The Blue Jays wanted to address their pitching on Sunday before wrapping up their weekend series with the Red Sox and beginning a three-game series against the Yankees on Monday. They turned to Derek Law as a bullpen starter on Saturday, and used a total of 10 pitchers in their first two games against the Red Sox.

Reid-Foley was scheduled to start on Sunday in Triple-A and can provide multiple innings out of the bullpen. Looking beyond the next two days, there is a possibility the Blue Jays could consider the 23-year-old right-hander for the next open starting spot.

“There’s an immediate need, today and tomorrow,” Sheehan said. “If you don’t address it and something happens today, it becomes a real problem tomorrow. If you don’t address that, if you address that with a one-inning option, then you just get into a situation in a game where you’re pushing beyond what they’re healthy [and] able to do. That’s where it can potentially snowball and it becomes a need for two months instead of two days.”

Reid-Foley pitched in one game already this season for the Blue Jays. He was 3-3 with a 5.87 ERA in 14 games and 13 starts for the Bisons. Romano has compiled a 5.06 ERA with three earned runs and 11 strikeouts over 5 1/3 innings and four games. He said he has been able to pitch with “max intent” since moving to the bullpen. His fastball averaged 94.6 mph on Friday, according to Statcast.

“He’s a pro,” Sheehan said. “He’s great and he’s got pretty limited time up here, but he’s a really good kid. This is not any kind of indictment on how he’s pitching. We still think he’s really good. There’s no, ‘We’re down on him,’ there’s none of that. It’s just, it sucks. There’s really no other way to kind of shape that for him. … He got it and understood. He’ll be back. We’re still really excited about him.”

Jessica Camerato is a reporter/editor for MLB.com based in Boston. Follow her on Twitter @jessicacamerato.