Injuries are always going to be part of the game, and they seemingly go hand-in-hand with Spring Training. Either players are nursing their way back from an offseason surgery or they are suffering through the aches and pains that come with stretching themselves out for a 162-game schedule. The Toronto Blue Jays, like any other team in the league, are dealing with their fair share of these minor maladies and are thankful that there is still plenty of time to work through them.
While Toronto’s various injuries are not major, at least not in light of the ones the New York Yankees will have to overcome that will affect the first two months of their season, they are nonetheless worthwhile of our concern. The major injuries, like those suffered by Kyle Drabek, Drew Hutchison, and Luis Perez are behind us, being dealt with and accounted for by the slew of offseason moves the team made. However, the afflictions to Brett Lawrie, Casey Janssen, and Sergio Santos are of the sort that may affect the 2013 roster and henceforth the team’s chances of having a productive 2013 season.
Brett Lawrie pulled out of the World Baseball Classic this past Wednesday after straining his oblique muscle while playing in an exhibition game with Team Canada. As a result, the team has opted to shut Lawrie down from baseball activities for the next 2-3 weeks. While the Blue Jays are confident that Lawrie will still have enough time to get himself up to speed for the beginning of the season, it is also worth mentioning that an oblique strain cost Lawrie nearly two months of playing time in 2012. So while, according to the team, it is a minor strain, the memories of 2012 and the disappointment in Lawrie’s overall production will linger.
Casey Janssen, the incumbent closer, has yet to throw in a game this season, after undergoing an offseason procedure to repair lingering joint soreness. Janssen has begun to throw bullpen sessions, but one would have to wonder if he has enough time before Opening Day to get himself up to game speed and go out in the ninth inning with the confidence to close out games. After a season where he converted 22 or 25 save opportunities, the Jays are counting on Janssen building off of that momentum.
To make matters worse, Janssen’s closest competitor for the closer role, Sergio Santos, has been scratched from two recent appearances due to tightness in his triceps on his pitching arm. The right-hander who was brought in to be the closer last season, instead spent the season on the disabled list with shoulder issues and underwent an operation last July. Santos has been solid this spring and looked primed to take the role back should Janssen suffer any setbacks, but his latest injury puts that into question and further clouds the Toronto closer situation.
So Blue Jays fans, we ask you this question, “Which of these injuries Concerns You More?”