If he had another setback, the Phillies left-hander would have called it a season, packed his bags and shut down his strained left forearm for the rest of 2009.
But instead, Romero found some rare good news on Wednesday. He threw roughly 25 pitches and felt good during and after the workout. Romero did not have to wear the protective strap on his arm, as he sometimes does.
"It was nice and smooth," said Romero, who has been on the disabled list since July 20. "I threw sliders, changeups, everything. Good day at the office."
He doesn't even think he needs another bullpen session. The Phillies do, however, so Romero is slated to throw one Friday in Atlanta. Then he plans to throw a simulated game in Florida and be activated either during that series or in Milwaukee.
Of course, Romero has had one planned schedule after another, each one pushed back because of tightness or pain. His only regret, he said, is not having a longer layoff at the beginning. Romero kept throwing until he experienced his second setback; in retrospect, he would have rested his arm for a full 15 days before beginning any rehab program.
Plus, with the regular season winding down, the latest timetable is particularly important to Romero. He wants to appear in five games with the Phillies before the playoffs, which means he has to return soon.
"If you asked me, 'Are you going to throw 93, 94 [mph] right from the get-go,' I don't think so," Romero said. "But if I keep command at 89, 91, be smarter with my offspeed, you get people out like that. I could deal with that."
Over 20 games this season, Romero posted a 2.87 ERA, striking out 12 and walking 13 in 15 2/3 innings.
David Gurian-Peck is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.