DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Right-hander Casey Janssen is nearing a return to the mound and appears on schedule to start the regular season with the Blue Jays.
Toronto's closer was dealing with a sore shoulder earlier this spring and has yet to appear in a game. He threw a side session on Saturday morning and is now scheduled to pitch live batting practice on Tuesday.
There are only two weeks remaining until Opening Day, but Janssen thinks that will be more than enough time to get his arm into shape.
"I noticed the backspin on the ball again," said Janssen, who began to feel better when he was cleared to play catch approximately 10 days ago. "I had to get over a little bit of the mental, 'Is it going to hurt?' And it seemed like the little soreness was out of there, and I'm not looking back."
Janssen is no stranger to getting ready in a hurry at the end of camp. Last year, he appeared in two spring games following offseason shoulder surgery and managed to head north with the team. He went on to record 34 saves in 36 opportunities while posting a 2.56 ERA in 52 2/3 innings.
The hope was that Janssen would avoid a similar situation this spring, but a week into camp, the soreness in his shoulder returned. Janssen admitted to perhaps trying to do too much, too early and as a result he has decided to take a very cautious approach.
"Obviously the one thing we want to err on, if we had a setback, we'd be jeopardizing something," Janssen said. "As long as we did it this way, knew we were going to make it. Do it the slow and healthy way."