Despite saying he would be “shocked” if he wasn’t ready to go by Spring Training, Toronto Blue Jays reliever Casey Janssen’s surgically repaired shoulder is not healing quite as quickly as he originally hoped.
“I’m not 100 per cent just yet,” Janssen told Brady & Lang on Sportsnet 590 The Fan Tuesday. “Having a little extra time in the spring is going to help. I’m definitely going to use every bit of the spring to get to that 100 per cent level.”
Back in November, Janssen underwent minor shoulder surgery to assuage pain and discomfort he dealt with through much of last season.
Following that procedure, Janssen told reporters he believed he would be completely healthy by the time spring training rolled around.
“You don’t want to get too far ahead of yourself because it’s still a little ways away, but I would be shocked if I wasn’t ready to go,” Janssen said. “I’m treating this like an oil change. I had a procedure five years ago, sometimes scar tissue builds up, they cleaned it out and I’m ready to get back out on the road again.”
In 2008 Janssen underwent surgery to repair a torn labrum and it forced him to miss the entire season.
Janssen’s most recent shoulder procedure was done by renowned orthopedic surgeon Dr. Neal ElAttrache, who in recent years has performed reconstructive knee surgery on several high-profile athletes including New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and UFC champion Georges St-Pierre.
Despite not feeling completely unhindered, Janssen is optimistic that he could still be ready for Opening Day.
“As far as I’m concerned, April 2 is very, very realistic,” he said.
After projected closer Sergio Santos was lost to a shoulder injury of his own, Janssen took over as the Blue Jays full-time closer in 2012 and he flourished, going 1-1 while posting a career-high 22 saves, a 2.54 ERA and a 0.86 WHIP over 63.2 innings pitched.
Santos is also coming off shoulder surgery and is expected to contend with Janssen for the job this spring.
Spring training officially begins Wednesday and expectations are high as the Blue Jays are coming off arguably the most productive off-season in franchise history.
“This is the first time in my career that we’ve gone into spring training and the season as a legitimate contender,” Janssen added Tuesday. “In years past we’ve had good teams but a lot of other teams have been pretty good as well and we would have to play over our heads to get to that expectation level. This year — especially with our starting rotation — we’re going to be in every game every night.”