SAN DIEGO -- The Blue Jays' starting rotation suffered yet another blow on Saturday afternoon when it was revealed that right-hander Brandon Morrow will require a stint on the 15-day disabled list.
Morrow left his last outing against the Braves on May 28 after just two innings due to soreness in his right forearm. At the time, Morrow was adamant about being able to make his next start, but that changed when the injury didn't heal as anticipated.
It's the second setback in several weeks for Morrow, who went 13 days between starts in May due to soreness in his upper back and neck area.
"It just hasn't recovered enough to go out there and make the start," said Morrow, who is 2-3 with a 5.22 ERA this season. "It's really just a matter of being able to be competitive with it. I mean, there are things that I can throw through but this, you know, not really any point if you don't think you can be competitive.
"The plans are right now not to leave the team and then be able to throw right when I come off the [DL]."
The stint on the disabled list begins just three days before the Blue Jays are set to welcome back right-hander Josh Johnson from the 15-day DL. Johnson's return was expected to help stabilize the rotation, but the group has once again been thrown into a state of flux due to injury woes.
Veteran right-hander Ramon Ortiz was promoted from Triple-A Buffalo to make Morrow's scheduled start on Sunday in San Diego. Ortiz was designated for assignment by the Blue Jays on May 29 and was then outrighted to Buffalo.
Ortiz normally would have had to wait 10 days before rejoining the Blue Jays, but that time period was waived due to Morrow's injury. Players can be brought back to the big leagues quicker than 10 days if someone is placed on the disabled list.
The 40-year-old Ortiz has made three starts for the Blue Jays this season and has an ERA of 5.01 in six appearances. He didn't pitch for Buffalo during his absence, but should still be appropriately stretched out to give Toronto some much-needed innings.
The injury isn't expected to keep Morrow out for very long, but that has done little to ease his level of frustration.
"I haven't been healthy a whole lot this year, so it's kind of been tough on that aspect of it, but hopefully I'll just fully recover from this and be feeling good in the next couple of weeks," Morrow said.
"There was no structural damage and [the MRI] didn't really show inflammation or anything like that, so that's good. But you don't treat the MRI, you treat your symptoms and stuff, and it's still sore. Playing catch, I just wasn't able to really put anything on it and it's still feeling the same."
Romero removed from 40-man roster
SAN DIEGO -- Another chapter has been written in the unfortunate saga of former Blue Jays ace Ricky Romero.
Romero was outrighted to Triple-A Buffalo Saturday afternoon to make room on the 40-man roster for Ramon Ortiz. The fact that Romero was outrighted to the Minors means he passed through waivers without any of the other 29 Major League teams deciding to claim him.
The lack of interest doesn't exactly come as a surprise considering Romero is earning $7.5 million this season with another $15 million on the way through 2014-15. Romero can be added to the 40-man roster at any time, so Saturday's decision by the club doesn't have that much of an overall impact.
"I would hope this wouldn't bother him, it's just a paperwork move they need to do to clear a spot," manager John Gibbons said. "If he's pitching well, the same thing will happen to somebody else, it's not like it's going to keep him from getting to the big leagues. I would hope he wouldn't look at this the wrong way, it was just a necessity."
Romero made another appearance for Buffalo on Saturday night and got off to a rocky start. He allowed five runs through four innings before finally settling down and finding a groove. He retired nine of the final 10 batters he faced and didn't throw more than 12 pitches in an inning over that span.
The 28-year-old Romero finished his outing after six innings, allowing five runs on eight hits while striking out three. The most positive aspect was that he didn't walk a better although he did throw three wild pitches.
Despite the somewhat ugly pitching line, it will be considered a step in the right direction considering Romero entered that start with 20 walks and just 20 strikeouts in four appearances for Buffalo. His journey to find his previous form continues and the hope is that Romero will ignore the fact he was outrighted and focus on what he can take away from Saturday's performance.
"Everybody's scrambling for answers," Gibbons said of Romero, a 2011 All-Star. "Everybody's pulling for him. He has been a good pitcher for the organization and we're hoping there's more in there, he comes back and picks up where he left off. Everybody feels for him, everybody loves him, he's one of those guys you root for.
"Any time in this business you see someone go through the ups and downs like that -- and his is to the extreme now -- you feel for them. I don't care what side you're on, because everybody knows what it takes to get to this level. So you got to have some sympathy for the guy."
Gibbons gives players extra rest after marathon loss
SAN DIEGO -- Blue Jays manager John Gibbons gave his team a much-needed afternoon off following Friday night's marathon 17-inning loss to the Padres.
Gibbons cancelled batting practice prior to Saturday night's game against San Diego and gave his players the option of not showing up until 5 p.m. PT.
The 17-inning game lasted 4 hours, 58 minutes and ended in heartbreak when right-hander Todd Redmond surrendered a walk-off single to Jesus Guzman in the 4-3 defeat.
"Your body might need some adjustment time, but mentally these guys understand what this is all about," Gibbons said when asked how difficult it is to recover from that type of game. "This is the big league level, they get paid a lot of money and it's your job to go out and perform.
"Sometimes it's tough to rev the body up, but they get through that and they battle that a lot of times because it really is a grind."
The lengthy matchup tied a Blue Jays' franchise record for most innings played in a road game. The Blue Jays previously played 17 innings Oct. 4, 1980, at Boston and June 8, 1998, at Miami. The most innings played in any game in franchise history (18) came July 28, 2005, at Rogers Centre against the Angels.
The loss was another serious blow to a bullpen that has been extremely overworked this season. The Blue Jays entered play on Saturday night with the Major League lead in innings pitched by relievers with 208 2/3.
The heavy workload has left the Blue Jays with little choice but to carry extra relievers. Toronto currently has 10 relievers after right-hander Mickey Storey was promoted from Triple-A Buffalo on Saturday afternoon.
To make room on the 25-man roster, Friday night's starter Chad Jenkins was optioned to Double-A New Hampshire. Jenkin's demotion is expected to be only temporary, but with a pair of off-days coming up next week, the club was planning to skip his start and wanted to keep him ready by pitching in the Minors.
"Well, what the plan is, his next start wouldn't be until the 11th and this way, you have to go down for 10 days, league rules, so this will fit in perfect," Gibbons said. "He'll get one more start down there and if all goes according to plan, he'll pitch on the 11th."