On the eve of Opening Day, it seems the injury ghosts of last season weren’t done pestering Toronto Blue Jays just yet, as the club’s closer Casey Janssen was placed on the 15-day disabled list with abdominal and lower back issues.
Alex Anthopoulos labeled this move as a quick fix and that Janssen will resume throwing in short order. Well, that may be the “on the record” version of the story, but as Blue Jays fans know, the odds of the problem not returning at some point in the season are iffy at best. The Blue Jays must now prepare themselves for the notion of Sergio Santos becoming more than just an interim stopper.
If Janssen’s DL stint does in fact become a prolonged one, the Jays have lost one of their more steady relievers, as Janssen has quietly become one of baseball’s elite bullpen arms.
The pressure will now be on Santos, the fireballer who was originally thought of as the team’s closer of the future before experiencing shoulder troubles, and who has only thrown a miniscule 27.2 innings over the last two seasons.
There could be some light at the end of the tunnel however. Santos seemingly got back on track in 2013, posting a 1.75 ERA, 0.58 WHIP, .131 BAA and 28 Ks in 25.2 innings pitched. The California native and former shortstop owns the arsenal to flourish in the role as he touches mid 90s with ease and employs a hard-biting 12-6 curve.
Changes still need to be made as Janssen’s mentality needs to wear off on Santos. However, there is a reason for optimism, and time will tell if Santos is a changed arm for good. The club is going to depend on him because the injury gods are knocking on the Blue Jays’ door once again.