DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Blue Jays closer Casey Janssen is feeling no ill effects from pitching off the mound on Sunday morning.
Janssen threw off a mound earlier this spring, but was then limited to flat ground after he suffered a minor setback. He returned to the mound for 20 pitches at the club's Minor League complex and has been feeling fine since.
"He felt good in that side session, felt good yesterday and feels good again today," pitching coach Pete Walker said of Janssen, who is recovering from offseason shoulder surgery. "We're going to take a look at his schedule from here on out and see where he is. He's day to day right now. There could be adjustments daily."
If all goes well, Janssen will throw at least a couple more bullpen sessions before advancing to face live hitters. From there he'll likely pitch in a Minor League game in a prelude to his Spring Training debut.
Janssen entered camp throwing off the mound, but it became apparent very early on that he wasn't quite ready for that step. Janssen said afterwards that he felt too mechanical while pitching off the mound and needed to gain more arm strength before continuing.
That's why the Blue Jays opted to slow down his rehab process by choosing to do work off flat ground instead. Once Janssen reached the point of feeling closer to normal he was cleared to resume throwing off the mound.
"He stalled a little bit early on with the throwing program but got back to stretching out, playing long toss," Walker said. "You really have to feel good stretching out and playing long toss before you throw off a mound as far as I'm concerned. That's what he did and that first side session went really well."
The 31-year-old Janssen took over the closer's role last season and recorded 22 saves in 25 opportunities. Manager John Gibbons is on record saying the job is his again this season, but it's possible he'll eventually face some competition from hard-throwing right-hander Sergio Santos.
Santos ruled out for Thursday with sore triceps
DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Right-hander Sergio Santos is expected to be out of action until Saturday because of a sore right triceps muscle.
Santos left Sunday's game versus the Phillies with discomfort in the area. He was originally expected to pitch Thursday versus Baltimore, but will now be held out for an additional couple of days.
"Nothing yet that we're too alarmed about, because there's still so much spring left," manager John Gibbons told media members on Tuesday afternoon.
Santos' injury might be considered minor, but if it lingers the Blue Jays could find themselves with a rather problematic situation on their hands. Closer Casey Janssen recently made his return to the mound following offseason shoulder surgery, but has yet to face live hitters.
Outfielder Colby Rasmus' return to Toronto's lineup also will take a little bit longer than originally expected. Rasmus was supposed to play on Tuesday against the Orioles, but has now been ruled out until Thursday.
The 26-year-old is dealing with a sore right shoulder, but the injury is still considered relatively minor. Rasmus was sent for an examination last week and structural damage was ruled out at that time although he is dealing with inflammation in the area.
Rasmus, who has appeared in three games this spring, is set for another year as Toronto's everyday center fielder. Last season, he hit .223 with 23 homers and 75 RBIs in 151 games.
Happ still preparing for season as a starter
DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Even though there aren't any jobs in the Blue Jays' rotation currently up for grabs, J.A. Happ is still preparing for life as a starter.
Happ continues to be stretched out and made his second start of the spring Tuesday afternoon against the Orioles. He allowed a pair of runs on six hits while striking out one in three innings.
The Blue Jays' starting five is currently locked in and it's possible Happ will begin the season at Triple-A Buffalo, but according to the veteran pitcher that's not on his radar right now.
"Right now I'm focused on being a starter, building up and doing what I've done in the past," said Happ, who is also in the mix for one of Toronto's final spots in the bullpen. "I think it's possible to do both [roles] but I think my value is strongest as a starter."
Happ appeared guaranteed of a starting job until the Blue Jays embarked on an eventful offseason. Following the acquisitions of R.A. Dickey, Josh Johnson and Mark Buehrle, it was Happ who all of a sudden went from the No. 3 starter to possibly being out of a job.
That will be tough to swallow for the six-year veteran, but something he'll likely have to come to grips with. In the meantime, it's business as normal for Happ who is doing his best to focus on the present rather than the future.
"That's the plan, to keep going one more inning each time," Happ said of extending his workload this spring. "Just build the arm strength and be able to go out there that next inning, and feel as strong as you did in the first. That's the goal."