The shut-down effectiveness of late-inning relief has contributed vitally to the New York Yankees' success in the Mariano Rivera era. With Casey Janssen and Sergio Stantos at the back end of their bullpen, the Blue Jays have the potential to be similarly efficient.
Among the questions facing the Jays with just over three weeks remaining in spring training is whether either will be fully healthy when the season begins. Both had shoulder surgeries in 2012, Santos part way through the season and Janssen afterwards.
Janssen threw off a mound on Saturday for the sixth time this season, restricted to fastballs only. It's undetermined when he'll be able to test his shoulder with the cut fastball, slider and curveball in his repertoire, though he reported no discomfort after the workout on Saturday.
"I've definitely got a smile on my face, in terms of where we are," Janssen said.
He'd been sidelined temporarily after his first three sessions with soreness, and allowed for the possibility that he will remain in Florida when the season begins to continue his recovery.
"The goal is Opening Day," he told reporters, prior to the Grapefruit League game against Detroit. "There's something to be said for being one of the 25 to go north. Having said that, the first week or 10 days isn't going to make or break the season, hopefully."
Santos has a sore triceps, which he thinks may have resulted from over-compensating with that part of his arm, following the shoulder surgery. He is pencilled in to pitch again on Tuesday, which will have been given him eight days of rest. A magnetic resonance imaging test came up clean, the club said.