Janssen, Lind inching closer to return from DL

Janssen, Lind inching closer to return from DL

PITTSBURGH -- Blue Jays closer Casey Janssen is expected to begin a rehab assignment with Double-A New Hampshire early next week.

Janssen threw another side session on Friday and has been given the go-ahead to take the next step. He's expected to join the Fisher Cats on Monday and will need at least four or five appearances before making his return to Toronto.

That's a longer preparation time than most pitchers would need, but it's also not entirely surprising considering Janssen made just three appearances this spring and has yet to pitch in a game during the regular season.

"He has to go back-to-back days so when he gets here, he's done that," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. "He's been off a long time."

Designated hitter Adam Lind also is nearing a return and could be activated from the disabled list on May 7. Lind has been out since April 15 with a sore lower back and considering the Blue Jays play their next five games in National League parks, there isn't a need to rush him back into the lineup.

Lind is currently working out at the club's Minor League complex in Dunedin, Fla., and has been slowly ramping up his daily activities to prepare for his eventual return.

"He was supposed to play in an extended game today but it got rained out," Gibbons said. "So he took his groundballs in a cage, similar to turf. He'll play again tomorrow, I'd expect him to be back at least by the middle of the week next week. That'd be my guess."

Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.