Slumping Romo has something to prove

Slumping Romo has something to prove

ATLANTA -- Sergio Romo spared nothing in his self-criticism Wednesday as he discussed his recent struggles on the mound, which have cost him his role as the Giants' top right-handed setup reliever.

Romo believes that the sequence of pitches he's throwing has become too predictable and that he's using his slider too frequently.

"Hitters feel comfortable on me, and if they feel comfortable, they've got to know what's coming," Romo said. He's fairly certain that he's neither tipping his pitches nor experiencing mechanical problems.

Romo realizes that he's no longer a presence to be reckoned with, having allowed nine of 13 hitters to reach base safely in his last four appearances. He has allowed seven runs in two innings in that span, inflating his ERA from 2.31 to 6.59.

"Right now, hitters don't have any respect for me," Romo said. "I have to fight to get that back. I haven't earned it, so I don't blame them."

Romo also feels that he must regain his teammates' respect.

"They're counting on me to be a certain asset to this team, and at this moment I'm doing the last thing I wanted to do here, which is hold us back," he said.

Romo has discussed his woes with manager Bruce Bochy and pitching coach Dave Righetti, who are likely to use him in less-critical spots until he regains his effectiveness.

"I had a good run," Romo said. "Now the script has changed a little bit and it's my turn to prove I belong here. Until I prove that, then I don't blame them for not putting me in those [crucial] situations."

Romo expressed confidence that he'll find his form.

"It may not be right away, but eventually," Romo said. "I'm not afraid of this challenge at all."

Chris Haft is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.