If Casey Janssen hasn’t quite looked himself this spring, it has been tough to tell, as we’ve rather gotten used to him starting slowly in camp, and defying expectations that come from looking at the effort he puts into every pitch, the sublime precision he relies on, and the radar gun. His velocity was down this spring, however, and it took until March 24th for him to make his full-fledged spring debut, having been set back earlier in camp due to soreness in his shoulder. Supposedly healthy, he pitched three innings in a week, culminating in a less-than-sharp Friday night performance in Montreal, giving up a run on a pair of doubles in the fifth inning, with no strikeouts.

But the thing about that “supposedly healthy” bit is… perhaps he wasn’t.

At least it’s not the shoulder — at least not according to the word of the club — but per a team release this afternoon, Janssen has been placed on the 15-day DL with a lower back/left abdominal strain, and Erik Kratz has been recalled. The DL stint has been backdated to yesterday (March 29th), making him eligible to come off it on April 13th — a Sunday on which the club will be in Baltimore.

It’s a loss of a key piece of the Jays’ puzzle at a time when they absolutely do not need it, to be sure, but it’s also merely the loss of a one-inning guy at the back of a stacked bullpen, and a guy who we know can pitch effectively through pain and should ultimately be fine. That’s not to say that Janssen’s not great, it’s just… perspective, y’know?

The bullpen, somewhat surprisingly, now goes back down to seven men, with Sergio Santos the likeliest choice to take over the closer’s role. Even more surprising, though, is the addition of Kratz. Or, in the parlance of the internet “another fucking catcher???”

The thing about that is, it seems a fair reward for the big spring that he had, and — provided he keeps hitting like it’s Dunedin and he’s facing minor league scrubs and not the David Price’s of the world — he gives them an OK right-handed bat off the bench. Miiiiiiiight have preferred to see them bring up a guy who can be a true backup in centre, and can pinch run in late game situations, but it’s not like this is indefensible. And @james_in_to points out that BuckJerry noted yesterday that Dioner Navarro was wearing a pad to protect his forearm, which might be a sign that he’s not 100%. I don’t know about all that — he’s a catcher, is he ever going to be 100% — but maybe?

More likely, though, I think it’s about taking the hot bat, and giving the guy a longer look against better pitching. I wouldn’t necessarily be shocked if Josh Thole goes down when all is said and done, even. We shall see! Starting damn tomorrow! (At Opera Bob’s!)

Comments (108)

  1. Stoets, and word on the media blocked McGowan press conference as of yet?

  2. Santos! Santos! Santos!

  3. Can Kratz or Thole play another position? Cause otherwise why not someone else?

  4. Hey guys, have a great time at Opera Bob’s! Wish I was there!

  5. I know there are many who call bull$#!* on the notion of clubhouse chemistry affecting teams, including some here I believe. I have no idea what it means and whether there is an effect, but this article about the Rays uses the term 3 times and 2 of those are quotes by Heath Bell and Ryan Hannigan, plus there is this quote from Longoria:

    And those things, I think, really translate into wins on the field.”

    Amazing that some players seem to think it matters but writers and commenters are confident that it is irrelevant.

    • What are they supposed to say?

    • There very probably is an effect. It’s very probably not small. But it’s absolutely impossible to measure or get any sort of feel for it and its effect, so anyone talking about it is very probably full of shit.

    • Baseball players are notoriously supertitious, of course they believe in it.

    • Baseball players wear those fucking necklaces with magnets in them thinking that they do some kind of magic. Hardly authorities on this stuff.

  6. Somebody forward this to Josh Thole please:

  7. Know Your Enemy, 2014 start:

    some cautious notes on the Rays from the hometown paper:

  8. Sierra, Kratz, Thole, Izturus off the bench?


    • Not many American League teams have good benches. They are bench players for a reason.

      • Agreed. What we should hope for is to get to the point where they are in it, and can afford a rental upgrade at 2B, 1B, or OF that forces a current starter to the bench and makes it deeper.

      • Some teams are going away from the stars and scrubs
        type of roster construction.

        Don’t know whether it is salaries or the influence of analytics
        or some of both. But we’re seeing teams go with 4-5 every day
        playesr and then a bunch of guys in platoon/time share roles.

        Seems like they are trying to use the data to construct a roster
        where they can put guys in the right spot at the right time.

        A’s and Rays are ahead of the curve on this (surprise, surprise)
        but the Red Sox did something similar last year with Carp,
        Gomes and Nava.

      • True

        It would be nice to have a guy who can play 4-5 positions or a veteran power bat off the bench though.

        I don’t feel excited about any of those guys pinch hitting in the 9th inning.

    • thats blazing foot speed!

  9. 2014 Jays Check List

    Survive spring training without much signifigant injury – ✔

    Get off to good start -TBD

    Play good baseball -TBD

    Stay reasonably healthy -TBD

    Make great deadline deal -TBD

    Make playoffs -TBD

    Win in playoffs (i.e. get lucky) -TBD

    Win WS -TBD

    Profit ( I got in at 33 to 1) -TBD

    • I’m just wondering how many games below .500 they’ll need to be before they stop playing that stupid “adversity breeds strength” promo. That got old after seeing it twice.

      • Considering how many of the players involved are former Mets, Marlins or fucking BLUE JAYS from years gone by, I think they’re pretty well tested by fucking adversity by now.

        Get that off the air. I hate it!!!

  10. Not to be an asshole but if he has a lowerback/abdominal strain he could be out a lonnnnnng time.

  11. Maybe the Detriot Tigers have seen my videos and the writing on the wall: the US economy is about to collapse, along with the US dollar, so while $293 does sound like a whopping amount of unbacked paper, it’s actually practically nothing at all.

    Buy some precious metals now before it is too late.

    • Thanks for filling the fucking mouth breathing moron quota for the day, bro.

      I think you’re looking for but I can see how you’d get that confused with a baseball blog.

  12. With Navarro not being 100% from Hayworth yesterday, Navarro is tied for 4th most games played behind Goins 24,Cabrera 23, Lawrie 21, Bautista 21, Navarro, and Reyes 19. Wouldn’t be surprised if Navarro isnt 100 %. He only played 89 games last year.

  13. Wonder why they didn’t bring up Kawasaki instead.

  14. Hopefully this means Navarro can DH vs. LHP in a couple of the next 3 games.

  15. Well, I wish Janssen the best but yeah, he is yet another guy who has a body that seems to have a revolving base for injuries. At least we do have capable people in the bullpen to pick up the slack unlike say ,SS, or 3B , or LF or RF or CF.
    @Famous- my bet on the WS is at 45-1 ( and the pennant at 20-1) so,, go jays go!
    BTW, Luis Perez is obviously not fitting into the mix anymore. He was put on waivers a bit ago-did anyone claim him or does he get to look for apartments in Barfalo?

    • Luis Perez was released, not DFA’d.

      • I thought he was traded for the now-released Tuiasosopo, or did those moves just happen at the same time?

        • Tui was claimed off waivers from the d’backs. Perez was released to make room on the 40 man.
          If a player is DFA’d, or “designated for assignment”, it means he is taken off the 40 man roster and a new player can take that place. The team then has 10 days to figure out what to do with him. The options are:
          1/ Trade him
          2/ Waiver him
          3/ Release him
          I think in Perez case they released him outright because he wasn’t making any progress after his TJ surgery.

  16. When he was on the mound, Janssen was rotating his arm as if to try and loosen up the shoulder. But like Stoeten says, he always has been kind of twitchy.
    I noticed and said to myself,”hope it is nothing.”

    Morrow as doing something similar during his outing.
    Hoping that is nothing.

    And Bats was rotating the trunk and stretching while in the outfield.
    He was doing that before going on the dl with back issues last year.
    Habit? An Issue?
    I dunno, but every time I see one of them do anything that is the least bit suspicious,
    I do get concerned.

  17. Kratz gets a big hit to win a game in the first series coming off the bench. Saw it in a dream.

  18. Dont feel like sifting through to find the article, but one genious has an article entitled bold predictions. He said we are the most likely team to overtake the astros for worst in the AL, and 3 predictions later he said we are one of 4 teams that could surprise and make the wild card. Make up your mind?

    • ummm. you spelled genius wrong

    • To be fair, he stated that if the rotation doesn’t perform and Bautista and other important position players miss a lot of time, the Jays could have the worst record in the league. The other prediction was related to which sub-.500 teams from 2013 have the best chance at making the playoffs. If the rotations performs and the team stays relatively healthy, they have a chance. In other words, his predictions are just saying that there’s a wide range of possibilities for the Jays.

      • That’s true of every team.

        “If everyone sucks and all their best players get hurt, the team could be awful. If everyone performs above expectations, they could surprise people.”

        I didn’t read the article, but you can’t make “bold predictions” with both just to cover all your bases.

  19. Speaking of catchers… I don’t recall reading/hearing a whole lot about AJ Jimenez in camp. And I see he only got 7 ABs? Am I reading that wrong?

  20. Really looking forward to 4;00pm tomorrow. It’s show time for this group. Enough encouraging signs toward a competitive team. Seat belts on let’s see where these guys are come May 15. booked tickets to Cleveland Apr 18-20 with decent weather it should be a blast. Go jAYS.

    Hope the weak bench doesn’t sink them. Would have taken Sierra, Kawasaki and Kratz.
    Are we really stuck with Macier on this roster ??

    • I took two hours off work, will set the o’lady to mute, crack a frosty, don my Brett ‘fuckin’ Lawrie shirsy and drink it all in.

      Opening day y’all.

      • Opening day is nice, but it will be snowing while I’m watching the game here in NB, adding to the 3.5 feet of snow already on the ground…….faaaaack.

  21. I just finished reading Brendan Kennedy’s 30 reasons the jays are different than last year.

    Which I thoroughly enjoyed and I still believe the jays are better than analyst and bloggers think. After reading the fact about Navarro he has my respect, “Navarro wears No. 30 to celebrate Sept. 30, 2003, the day his wife Sherley was given a less-than-5-per-cent chance of survival after a brain aneurysm. She remains alive and well today.”

  22. So if Santos does a fine job, does he keep the closer role when he CJ returns? After all, Santos lost the job to CJ due to injury. Turnabout is fair play.

  23. Hopefully Bautista had a good shit and is ready go tomorrow.

  24. If the jays trot out thole, lind, rasmus and goins vs price then this season will be a joke.

    • I would think we would see Thole , Sierra, Rasmus, and Izteris.

    • Colby doesn’t hit lefties but he’s our only Centre fielder. And a pretty fuckin good one.
      He may not create runs tomorrow but he’ll prevent them.
      Thole catches the knuckles. Nothing you can do there.
      Your points on Lind and Goins are valid but they’ll probably both start unless Gibby has changed his thinking from last year.
      Goins is better defensively so there’s that.
      I have nothing to offer in defense of Lind starting other then his beard is pretty ok.

      • Yeah, Thole SHOULD be starting, and Rasmus is good enough defensively (and not Lind-level bad against lefties) that I’m perfectly ok with him starting. Lind and Goins should be on the bench.

        • Ok SSS and all but I’m only bringing this up because Lind said he has a new approach against lefties. (ie he is waiting longer on them)

          In ST he went 7 for 14 against lefties.

          OTOH…David Price is no ordinary lefty

          • Oh ..yeah… and the other thing is…while Kratz is up I hope Gibby has him and Thole splitting time catching Dickey in practice. He could be a huge improvement not only catching Dickey but PH-ing as well.

  25. 4pm starts are awesome. 5 am here is perfect to wake up early and fire up the vip sports.
    1 pm starts are the worst.

  26. Fuck Ya!! Its here!

  27. Happy Opening Day!
    God bless us, everyone.

  28. It’s about time. This off-season, like the winter, felt way longer than it was. Now we can put an end to the speculating and let the baseball speak for itself.

    Go Jays!

    • for real, i’ve had enough looking at projections and numbers and trying to convince myself that my team doesn’t suck, time to just enjoy the damn games

  29. whats the capacity like at Opera Bobs? if i show up at 3:45 what should i expect? seats all gone and wigging out in a corner somewhere?

    • You never can tell but
      Last get together was two years ago and they needed an overflow bar.The blog is more popular than ever and along with the SBH promotion I would imagine it’ll be packed.
      That said, the pictures and vid from last time looked like it was a blast.
      Give it a go.

  30. I’m so fucking excited for the first real game threat of the year! T-Minus three months before Small Potato starts crooning by the third inning!

  31. so will my mlbtv stop working in Vancouver now for Jays games?

    • It’s supposed to stop now that the regular season has started.Although many reported that they could still access Jays games for all of 2013 when they weren’t supposed to.

  32. Navarro starting at DH over Lind against a lefty = siiiiiiiiick

    • I can’f fucking believe they’re sitting Lind. This is outstanding!

      • Yeah, they had me worried for a while there, but seriously… Navarro had a 208 wRC+ against LHP in 2013 (Lind: 53). Complete no-brainer against one of the toughest lefties in the league.

        • Didn’t stop them from letting Arencibia catch Dickey last year, just in some inane attempt to get our “starting nine” out there.

  33. As per the Jays twitter feed:

    The logical Navarro-Lind swap, but also Goins sitting for Izturis. Obviously Goins is likely to be helpless against a guy like Price, but then so is Izturis most likely (.266/.326/.355 career vs lefties, but only .247/.276/.289 over the last 2 years). I wonder if it’s worth the downgrade defensively.

  34. Over/Under for comments on today’s Game Threat: 900

  35. i wanna see that knickler dance today! yay baseball!

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