As spring training starts go, it was a big one for Toronto Blue Jays left-hander Ricky Romero.

Romero, who has gone from No. 1 in the rotation last year to No. 5 in a revamped starting five, has struggled in spring training and needed to step up in his Grapefruit League start against Pittsburgh on Tuesday.

He showed some good signs but still left plenty of room for improvement in allowing three runs, two earned, in 4 1/3 innings against the Pirates. He allowed six hits and three walks while striking out two before being removed with the Blue Jays leading 4-3 in the fifth to lower his Grapefruit League earned-run average to 6.23. Romero threw 75 pitches, 44 for strikes.

Later, the Jays announced Romero would start the season in the minors.

Romero entered the game with a 7.27 ERA and an 0-1 record after his first four Grapefruit League games, giving up seven walks and 11 hits in 8 1/3 innings.