7/3/2013 7:58 P.M. ET
Anthopoulos happy with strides Romero is making
By Evan Peaslee / MLB.com
TORONTO -- Since being optioned to the Minor Leagues, Ricky Romero has had his share of ups and downs.
More recently, though, the Blue Jays have started to see some progress from their former ace, outside of a tough outing two starts ago.
"Stuff's good, velocity's good and command is getting better," general manager Alex Anthopoulos said. "He's not there yet, but he's certainly getting better."
Excluding that one ugly performance on June 24, Romero has a 2.19 ERA with 19 strikeouts in 24 2/3 innings over his last four outings.
"The outing that we saw, that was really the outlier for the last four or five starts," Anthopoulos said. "So maybe that's something that happens over time. Maybe he makes four good outings, one shaky one, and then he starts to get going and starts to remove himself a little more."
With that one tough outing, Romero's ERA ballooned to 3.53 ERA over his last five starts, but even that was remarkably better than his first five starts with Triple-A Buffalo that saw him allow 25 earned runs over 19 innings.
It's that type of progress and results that Anthopoulos and his staff are looking for in Romero, who returned to his old mechanics -- the same mechanics that saw him come in 10th in American League Cy Young Award voting in 2011 with a 15-11 record and a 2.92 ERA.
"You're starting to see some of the strikeouts come back, which is important because he's getting ahead and he's able to use his changeup," Anthopoulos said. "From a consistency standpoint, you want to see him have the results he needs to have at that level start after start. So I want to see him do it for a while."
It's not just the mound, however, where Romero needs to make strides. Confidence, or lack thereof, has been a big contributor to his struggles the last couple of seasons, and it's another place where the Blue Jays' GM has seen some improvement.
"It sounds like mentally he's in a good place," Anthopoulos said. "If you talk to the staff down there, he's beyond over-analyzing and worrying about things. He knows he's just got a job to do and get better, so I think he's in a great place."
Buehrle welcomes Reds' Bailey to exclusive club
TORONTO -- Reds pitcher Homer Bailey's second no-hitter of his career Tuesday is something that Mark Buehrle is no stranger to.
Buehrle and Bailey are just two of four active pitchers to have two no-hitters on their resumes, joining Justin Verlander and Roy Halladay.
Buehrle pitched both of his while with the White Sox, including a perfect game in 2009, and knows how difficult the feat is to pull off.
"No matter who does it, obviously throwing a no-hitter, a perfect game, in the big leagues is something that's pretty hard to do," Buehrle said. "You got to have so much stuff go your way, and be on top of your A-game, so it's pretty impressive."
As rare an accomplishment as it is, and as dominant a pitcher needs to be, the veteran starter knows that it takes more than a good outing on the mound.
Just take Buehrle's perfect game on July 23, 2009, vs. the Rays, in which Dewayne Wise made a spectacular catch in left-center field that robbed a home run and preserved the perfect game.
"I think it all comes down to luck. It comes down to plays behind you. You have to have that stuff on your side," Buehrle said. "To be honest with you, you have to be good that day and you got to have luck. I know in both of my games I had balls land two inches foul, one in each game. … Whenever that stuff happens, you have to have everything go your way."
Despite being one of just four current pitchers who can boast about throwing two no-hitters in their career, it's nothing Buehrle tends to reminisce about.
"It's not like every day, or every once in a while I just sit there and start thinking about the perfect game or the no-hitter at all," Buehrle said. "Just more focused on what's going to happen now, and my next start. I don't really look back in the past."
Lind returns to lineup; Encarnacion still out
TORONTO -- After sitting out the last few days, Adam Lind returned to the Blue Jays' lineup on Wednesday vs. the Tigers.
Lind had missed the last two games after leaving Sunday's affair against the Red Sox with back issues.
Edwin Encarnacion, however, remains a day away from returning.
Encarnacion has been dealing with left hamstring issues since Sunday, and the Blue Jays are remaining cautious with their slugger.
"If you rush that, and you re-injure it or make it worse, then you're shot," manager John Gibbons said. "So buy him that extra day."
The reasoning for taking the slow approach with both players is because of their value to the club. Lind is coming off being named the Blue Jays player of the month for June, while Encarnacion leads the club with 23 home runs and 66 RBIs.
"Let's face it, we need both of those guys to have a good year if we're going to hang around this thing at all," Gibbons said.
• The Blue Jays are making progress toward signing Phil Bickford and Clinton Hollon, their top two picks in the 2013 First-Year Player Draft.
Anthopoulos has seen more progress with Hollon, but is encouraged on both fronts.
"Bickford, we're having discussions, I think it's going to move forward this week," Anthopoulos said. "I'm not saying it's going to get done, but it's starting to move forward. Like anything, it seems like it's the same game plan, same playbook, each year. Wait, wait and wait and finally get going. Hollon, I think we're moving in the right direction, I think we're getting close with him."
• On Wednesday, the Blue Jays announced that they had signed their 20th-round selection, outfielder Chaz Frank.
Frank is a left-handed hitter from the University of North Carolina, and was the 22nd player to be signed by the club from this year's Draft.
Evan Peaslee is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.