Danny Jansen making his case for big league return in grand fashion down in Triple-A

Displays of power suggest Blue Jays catcher will soon be behind the plate.
Danny Jansen rounds the bases after hitting a home run last September against the Colorado Rockies.
Danny Jansen rounds the bases after hitting a home run last September against the Colorado Rockies. / Dustin Bradford/GettyImages

Blue Jays catcher Danny Jansen looks to be nearing a return to the majors after a strong showing in Triple-A Buffalo Wednesday and Thursday.

Jansen, 28, is making his way back from a wrist injury he sustained last month in a Grapefruit League game against the Pittsburgh Pirates. He was hit by a pitch that fractured the pisiform bone in his right wrist, which is his throwing arm.

Jansen's rehab assignment could not have gotten off to a better start. He singled in his first plate appearance Wednesday, then crushed a fourth-inning grand slam in his next at-bat. With an exit velocity of 108.2, the 405-foot blast gave Buffalo the lead on the way to a 12-11 win over the Rochester Red Wings. The win was the fifth in a row for the Bisons.

In his second game on Thursday, Jansen narrowly missed a second grand slam. He drove a 1-0 slider 359 feet, hitting the top of the left field wall for a two-run double. He finished 1-for-4 at the plate, striking out in his last at-bat in the sixth inning. Between the two games, Jansen went 3 for 7 with six RBI, one run, seven total bases and two strikeouts.

Jansen told The Herd Chronicles he is still feeling a little soreness in his wrist, but he is also very comfortable where he's at. He served as the Bisons designated hitter on Wednesday and was behind the plate for seven innings Thursday. Thursday's game was called in the eighth inning due to a heavy rain in Buffalo. Rochester held on to win 6-3.

Unfortunately, hand and wrist injuries are nothing new to Jansen. He is known for his work behind the plate and game-calling skills, and he has been productive at the plate (116 wRC+ in 2023 and 141 wRC+ in 2022). But the number of those plate appearances has been drastically cut short, as Jansen has played in more than 100 games only once in his six years with Toronto.

Alejandro Kirk and Brian Serven have been handling the catching duties in Jansen's absence. In addition to his glove, the Blue Jays could certainly use Jansen's bat. Kirk has gotten off to a rough start, as a .364 OPS and 10 wRC+ in 46 plate appearances might suggest. Serven is 0-for-7 with a walk this year. Kirk has thrown out four of 11 base stealers, however, for an American League-leading 36 percent caught stealing rate.

No timetable for Jansen's return has been announced. While the number of games he'll play in Buffalo is unknown, Jansen told the Herd Chronicles he wants to feel comfortable both at the plate and behind it before his return.