Much is being made of the sturdiness of relief pitcher Casey Janssen’s right shoulder. Janssen was the closer last season and remains in the picture, along with Sergio Santos as a closing candidate for opening day, April 2.
Many are saying the barometer of whether Janssen is ready to go north with the Blue Jays as a member of the active roster will be whether he can pitch on back-to-back days before camp breaks on March 30. The fact is it’s not necessary.
“A lot of people are making a lot of headway about that one,” Janssen said. “I’ve had a season when I haven’t gone back-to-back and I’ve had a season when I have gone back-to-back. Both seemed to prepare me just fine. If they want me to do it, I get it. I understand but I think if you feel good and you kind of have a feeling that you can do it, then you don’t necessarily need to do it.”
The facts back Janssen’s assertion up. In all of his spring training camps with the Blue Jays, he has never pitched back-to-back days in Grapefruit League games. He may have gone back-to-back with a minor-league appearance, but never two Jays games in a row.
However, during the season, Janssen went back-to-back 17 times, including three straight days twice. In those 17 games, he recorded eight saves, with two blown saves, working 16-1/3 innings, with a 2.23 ERA, allowing 10 hits, walking five and striking out 10. All four runs he allowed came on home runs, by Wilson Betemit, April 14, by Adam Jones, May 29 and by Adam Dunn on August 13.
Clearly he does not need to go back-to-back, but he does need to prove to himself and his coaches that the morning after he pitches in a game, his shoulder is fine, that he is not suffering any extra soreness due to the off-season right shoulder surgery that he underwent in mid-November.
“It was the Mumford Procedure, where they shave the AC joint down to create a little more space in the joint to eliminate the (bone-on-bone) rubbing from going on,” he explained.