May 19, 2015, 6:07 PM EDT
After returning to Washington on Tuesday with hopes of being activated off the disabled list, Nationals reliever Casey Janssen will need just a little more time in the minor leagues before the team brings him up to make his 2015 debut.
The veteran right-hander says he feels good physically after rehabbing from right shoulder tendinitis, but the Nats want him to pitch two more times to sharper a few things before calling him up for the first time this season.
“I feel like I’m pretty ready. No health concerns,” he said. “They said they would like me to go out a couple more times. They said they would like my curveball to get a little tighter. They said the reports they got said I’m getting there, but whoever said the reports said he’s not there yet.”
Matt Williams explained the team’s thinking before Tuesday’s game against the Nationals:
“For me it’s a normal spring training progression. Generally our back of the bullpen guys, eighth inning guys, closers, get at least seven appearances. More like nine during the course of spring training. The fact that Casey got shut down in spring training, he’s got to progress back to that point. So that’s why we decided to give him a couple more. So he’ll go to Harrisburg tomorrow. Pitch there. And pitch again on Friday, then we’ll get together again.”
Janssen, 33, has already made five rehab appearances in recent weeks. He pitched three times for Double-A Harrisburg and twice for Single-A Potomac. He will now return to Harrisburg to continue his road back.
“[I’m] pretty anxious. It took longer than I expected. Obviously I didn’t expect to be hurt, period. So it adds to the frustration of not being with the team and helping, but should come quick. Hopefully, when I do get activated I can keep the momentum that they have built going and fit in,” he said.
The Nationals want to see Janssen’s repertoire round into form, as the right-hander’s velocity has not quite returned to where it was before the injury. Janssen usually sites in the high 80s and low 90s on his fastball and is still a few ticks away from normal.
“I think it was more just my arm speed. My arm speed’s there. Velocity is, I think, I’ve never been a power pitcher. I think the big leagues will help [give me] the extra mile per hour. Whatever that they’re worried about if they are worried, [I’ll] just finish it up,” he said.
Janssen signed a free agent deal with the Nationals on Feb. 2 after spending his first eight MLB seasons with the Toronto Blue Jays. He has a 3.52 ERA in 389 total major league games.
FINAL NL EAST STANDINGS
ON THE RADIO
As ESPN-980 AM's Nats Insider, Mark makes daily appearances on the station's various shows. Here's the 2015 schedule (subject to change)...
MON: 12:45 p.m.
TUE: 2:30 p.m.
WED: 4:30 p.m.
THU: 2:30 p.m.
FRI: 5:30 p.m.
SAT: 10:30 a.m.
*All times Eastern. You can also listen to the station on 94.3 FM, 92.7 FM and online at ESPN980.com. Click here for past audio clips.
Follow us on Twitter
- MLB 2018 Power Rankings: Preseason Edition
- The sound of Bryce Harper's first spring training HR is beautiful
- Per usual, Max Scherzer strikes out Tim Tebow on three pitches
- Camels and players bond at Nats Spring Training
- Nationals Spring Training Schedule 2018
- With Ross placed on 60-day DL, Nationals agree to 1-year deal with veteran reliever
- It's Day 1 of spring training and Bryce Harper is already done taking questions regarding his future
- May the odds be ever in your favor: Vegas sets over/unders for 2018 MLB season
- Former Nationals pitcher Esteban Loaiza arrested with more than 40 pounds of suspected cocaine
- 2018 Spring Training report dates