DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Casey Janssen's seemingly slim chances of being ready for Opening Day received a boost this week with his first appearance in a Minor League game.
Janssen threw an inning Sunday and two days later reported no lingering soreness in his right shoulder. That is a positive step for a pitcher who still has several obstacles to overcome before he can be cleared for action.
Toronto's closer is slated for another Minor League game Thursday, and from there he could become eligible for the Major League portion of Spring Training.
"We're going to see how he feels tomorrow; it's a day-by-day thing," pitching coach Pete Walker said of Janssen, who had offseason shoulder surgery. "We're still hopeful that he'll be ready for Opening Day, but I'm adamant that he's not going to go unless he's 100 percent, not 95 percent, not 97 percent. We want him feeling great, recovering, bouncing back and closing out games."
In theory, Janssen could still be ready for Opening Day, but there is not much time remaining in camp for that to happen. He would need at least a few appearances during Grapefruit League play and would likely need to throw on back-to-back days before being declared ready to go.
That will be a daunting task to accomplish with just two weeks remaining until Opening Day, but it is a scenario that has yet to be ruled out. Right-hander Sergio Santos is expected to serve as closer until Janssen is ready to go.