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Blue Jays' ace Romero denies elbow pain affected his performance

Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Ricky Romero throws against the Philadelphia Phillies during the first inning of their MLB Grapefruit League baseball game in Dunedin, Florida, March 6, 2012. The Blue Jays announced on Tuesday that Romero will have elbow surgery.

MIKE CASSESE/REUTERS

Ricky Romero is coming clean, admitting that he suffered discomfort in his left (pitching) elbow for much of the 2012 baseball season.

The starting pitcher for the Toronto Blue Jays underwent arthroscopic surgery on Oct. 16, 13 days after the club's disappointing regular season came to an end.

The Blue Jays announced all this in a brief news release issued Tuesday afternoon, stating that Romero had the procedure to "clean up his left elbow." The recovery time for what the club described as a "routine procedure" is about six weeks. Romero also received platelet-rich plasma shots to both knees to enhance the recovery of tendinitis.

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The procedures are not expected to cut into Romero's off-season throwing program or his readiness to participate in spring training.

During a telephone conference call late Tuesday afternoon, Romero would not admit that the elbow discomfort played a role in what for him was a trying year.

"Did I think it ever affected my performance?" Romero said. "I don't think it ever did. I'm never going to make an excuse about this past season. I stunk, and that's it."

Romero said the surgery was performed in his hometown of Los Angeles by Dr. Lewis Yocum.

Romero said the decision to opt for surgery was his, although he later said that Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos, former manager John Farrell and pitching coach Bruce Walton were all aware what was going on.

Romero said he was given the option of having a cortisone shot that may have cleared up the pain, or undergo the surgery.

Romero said he experienced the pain to the outside of his elbow during the season, but felt he could handle it.

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"My job is to take the ball every fifth day, which I did," he said. "Like I said, I don't know if it affected my performance. I don't like to think it did. That's why I had the ball every fifth day."

Romero could not pinpoint when he started to feel uneasy about his left elbow, but the topic came up after the year ended.

"It was one of those things where we sat down and we came up with the best options of what to do just to make sure that the doubt wasn't there, what was wrong with it," Romero said. "We decided to get a [magnetic resonance imaging test] and the MRI showed that I had some scar tissue in there and other stuff built up that was kind of dirty.

"And they decided to clean it out and I went along with it."

After going 8-1 to start the season, Romero struggled the rest of the way and finished with a record of 9-14 and a 5.77 ERA.

Meanwhile, Brian Butterfield has been hired as third-base coach for the Boston Red Sox, the same position he held under new Red Sox manager John Farrell the past two years with the Jays.

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The Red Sox made the announcement on Tuesday.

He is the second former Toronto coach going to Boston. The team previously announced that Torey Lovullo would be the bench coach after serving as first-base coach under Farrell.

Butterfield, 54, has coached for 16 years in the majors as part of his 34 years of pro baseball experience as a player, coach and minor-league manager. He was with Toronto for the past 11 years, serving as bench coach in 2008 and 2009.

He also coached for Buck Showalter with the New York Yankees from 1994-95 and the Arizona Diamondbacks from 1998-2000.

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