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.