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Janssen retains job as Blue Jays' closer


TORONTO -- Provided health is not an issue, there will be no battle for the Blue Jays' closer's job this Spring Training.

Manager John Gibbons announced during the team's State of the Franchise event that Casey Janssen, who saved a career-high 22 games for Toronto last season, will be the team's ninth-inning man.

There was thought that Janssen would face competition from right-hander Sergio Santos, who opened 2012 as the club's closer before being lost for the season with a shoulder injury after just six appearances. But Gibbons decided to steer clear of controversy by rewarding Janssen with the job based on his success last year, which included posting a 2.54 ERA and 0.86 WHIP over 63 2/3 innings.

"We'll go with Casey -- he is coming off a great year," Gibbons said. "Sergio missed the whole year, and that's big in this case. Especially a guy with the experience level he has. He's only been pitching for a couple of years.

"Casey gets the nod, and he deserves it."

Santos, a converted shortstop, was the Blue Jays' prized acquisition last offseason after saving 30 games for the White Sox in 2011, but he required season-ending surgery. Janssen, meanwhile, had right shoulder surgery in November to repair lingering soreness in his acromioclavicular joint.

Both pitchers are expected to be ready for the start of Spring Training.

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