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Romero to keep working in side sessions

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TORONTO -- The Blue Jays intend to have left-hander Ricky Romero work through his mechanical adjustments in side sessions before actually getting into another game.

Romero was optioned to Class A Dunedin at the end of Spring Training to continue making changes on the mound. Toronto would like to see Romero not throw across his body as much while also maintaining more of a direct line to the plate.

The work is currently being done in bullpen sessions at the club's Minor League complex in Dunedin, Fla. The Dunedin Blue Jays have already started their season, but Romero has yet to get into a game and likely won't until his mechanics become a little more clean.

"Ricky sounded good, and that was the key thing," said manager John Gibbons, who talked with Romero over the weekend. "He was upbeat and positive. Said he was getting some really good work done in the bullpen. We still don't know yet when he's going to get into a game, but I don't think that's too far off."

The hope is that the refined mechanics will lead to better overall command. Romero struggled with his control last season by walking 105 batters in 181 innings, and the issues carried over into this past spring.

Romero conquered this problem before when he solved control issues following a disastrous 2008 season in Double-A. The hope is that he can do it again, and while the walks will never go away completely, it's about limiting the damage whenever possible.

"Pounding the strike zone, that's his No. 1 thing," Gibbons said. "When Ricky throws strikes, he gets outs. He has great life on his ball, but like anything else, you get into that rut and you walk too many guys, you get your back up against the wall, and now a hit and boom, the game's over with or the game gets out of hand.

"At this level, you don't want to give up any freebies, and he was battling that. He may be a guy that's going to walk some guys, I don't know if that will ever disappear, to be honest with you. But if we can cut down on the numbers through some of these mechanical changes, that will solve a lot of these problems."

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.

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