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03/01/11 4:09 PM ET

Romero focuses on sinker in first outing

LAKELAND, Fla. -- There's a reason why results during Spring Training have to be taken with a grain of salt.

Ricky Romero's pitching line wasn't pretty in Tuesday afternoon's 6-2 loss to the Tigers. He allowed four runs on five hits over 2 1/3 innings of work, but he also wasn't working with his full repertoire of pitches.

Romero and catcher Jose Molina opted to spend most of the afternoon working on the sinker. Romero threw very few changeups and breaking balls during the start and instead chose to put an emphasis on the pitch the two have been working on during Spring Training.

"Some of them were a little up in the zone," Romero said of his sinkers. "But if you go look back at it, all of those balls were just finding the holes. ... A lot of ground balls, and that's a positive.

"I'm a competitor and I hate giving up runs, but it just happens. The first [spring outing], just get it out of the way and get back to work."

Romero has reached the point in his career where he is able to use the Grapefruit League season as a tuneup for the regular season. He doesn't have to focus as much on the early statistics like he did as a prospect looking to make his mark in the Blue Jays' organization.

"The maturity and mental toughness that I've grown to have in me just kind of gets me through these outings," Romero said. "I know what I had out there, I know that my arm felt good, and I had life on my fastball."

Shoulder inflammation sidelines Jays' Carlson

LAKELAND, Fla. -- Jesse Carlson will be out of action for the next seven to 10 days due to inflammation in his left shoulder.

Carlson underwent an MRI on Monday, which revealed the irritation but also indicated there was no structural damage to his throwing shoulder. His doctor recommended at least seven days of inactivity to allow time for the pain to subside.

The 30-year-old informed the Blue Jays of the discomfort he was feeling following his Grapefruit League debut on Saturday. During that game against the Tigers, Carlson struggled with his control, allowing two earned runs on one hit and two walks in one inning of work.

"That's the day it did get to the point where he had to say something," Blue Jays manager John Farrell said. "I think just getting to that game intensity probably pushed it to the point where it compounded some things. The irritation probably already was beginning, but it was to the point where he had to step back and say something."

Carlson spent the vast majority of his 2010 campaign pitching for Triple-A Las Vegas, but he does have two full seasons in the Major Leagues under his belt. In '08, he went 7-2 with a 2.25 ERA with 55 strikeouts over 60 innings. He regressed the following year, but still managed to throw 67 2/3 innings while posting a 4.66 ERA.

The native of Connecticut entered Spring Training competing for one of the final two spots in the bullpen. He is up against David Purcey, Casey Janssen, Carlos Villanueva, Josh Roenicke and potentially any of the starter candidates who do not make the rotation.

Farrell acknowledged those type of competitions sometimes cause pitches to overdo it during the initial stages of Spring Training in an effort to make an early impression.

"I would say that can be the case," Farrell said. "I don't think Jesse was not revealing something. He knows and it was outlined to him that he is in competition for one of those spots.

"He came in here and is in here competing daily. In his mind, and certainly in camp, this is a little bit of a setback -- but not going to completely rule out something for Opening Day."

Hill could be first of injured Jays to return

LAKELAND, Fla. -- The Blue Jays' walking wounded continue to show gradual improvement Tuesday, and as many as four players could return to the lineup by the end of the week.

Second baseman Aaron Hill is expected to be the first player back, and he will make his Spring Training debut as scheduled on Wednesday afternoon in a "B" game.

Hill is scheduled to receive two at-bats and will play one inning in the field. He had previously been kept out of action because of tightness in his right quadriceps muscle.

"He feels like he can go about it at a controlled pace," Blue Jays manager John Farrell said. "He ran the bases [Tuesday] morning -- he's continuing to improve, but we're going to gradually build this progression back into play."

Outfielder Travis Snider also continues to improve. The 23-year-old took batting practice for the third consecutive day on Tuesday and could be ready for game action by the weekend.

Snider is suffering from an upper rib cage injury that has impeded his cardio and weight training routine, but early results at the plate have been positive.

"He has no issues, no restrictions as far as any kind of rotational movement," Farrell said. "It's when he runs and the pounding can generate some of that feeling or discomfort. So while he's not completely symptom free he is able to swing the bat aggressively."

Veteran Scott Podsednik was expected to begin a light running program on the track. He previously had to limit his cardiovascular work because of plantar fasciitis in his left foot.

"[We're] looking at a game hopefully by the end of next week," Farrell said of Podsednik's timetable. "From our initial expectations, he is ahead of that. I don't want to rush it to the point of any setbacks, but I think by the end of next week is not out of the realm of possibilities."

On the mound, right-hander Jon Rauch recently threw a 40-pitch bullpen session and is scheduled to appear in his first game on Thursday.

Potential closer Frank Francisco also continues to work his way into game shape, and he could see action this weekend. Veteran Chad Cordero is scheduled to throw a bullpen session on Wednesday, but there is still no timetable for his return from soreness in his right shoulder.

Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.