09/19/11 7:51 PM ET
Solid Janssen aiming to improve
By James Hall / Special to MLB.com
The right-hander, who turned 30 on Saturday, entered Monday having allowed just one earned run over his last 22 1/3 innings, spanning a total of 19 games. During that stretch, Janssen threw 16 2/3 innings -- between July 26 and Aug. 30 -- without allowing an earned run, establishing a career high and representing the longest streak by any Blue Jays pitcher this season.
Despite his recent success and solid season on the whole, Janssen said he doesn't get too caught up in the numbers.
"I don't think about it," said Janssen, who boasts a 5-0 record with a 1.94 ERA. "People tell me it, but like I said, I don't look at stats -- it doesn't matter to me."
Janssen said that consistently throwing strikes and having command of all five of his pitches has contributed to what he dubbed as one of his best seasons to date. His previous best ERA to end a season was 2.35 in 2007.
One thing Janssen wants to improve upon going into next year -- which he insists most of the Toronto bullpen is trying to do -- is work better with inherited runners. This season Janssen has allowed 48 percent of inherited runners to score (11 of 23 and five of eight since July 26).
"I think I'm a better pitcher this year than I was in 2007," he said. "[But] the thing that sticks out in my season is the inherited runners. I want to get better. There have been multiple days where I can't even look Ricky [Romero] in the face because I gave up some of his runners.
"If he wasn't such a good friend, he'd probably hate my guts.
"Although it's a streaky stat, it's a stat that us relievers take pride in. Unfortunately this year, to my expectation level, I haven't been good enough. I want to get better at that, but at the same time finish this year healthy, strong, and hopefully carry the momentum into next year."
Thames back in action after foul-ball scare
TORONTO -- A day after fouling a ball into his left eye, outfielder Eric Thames was slotted right back into Toronto's starting lineup for Monday's series opener against the Angels.
Thames' eye remained relatively swollen -- he also showcased a small laceration with a distinguishable imprint of baseball stitching on and surrounding his eyelid -- but he insisted his vision was fine and it would not affect his performance at the plate or in the field.
Thames fouled off a 2-2 offering from Yankees reliever Scott Proctor in the seventh inning during Sunday's 3-0 victory. He was subsequently removed from the game to have his vision tested.
"Just thinking back to yesterday, he was fortunate that a cut [and some swelling] was all he sustained," manager John Farrell said. "Immediately when he was checked out by the doctor here there was no dizziness, no blurred vision, [and] even though he's still a bit swollen is ready to go."
Thames joked about the incident Monday, but like Farrell, he was sure to note just how lucky he was.
"I dodged a bullet for sure," Thames said. "Never again."
Farrell foresees competition in left field
TORONTO -- Fortunately for Blue Jays manager John Farrell, Spring Training 2012 is still a ways away.
With over six months to go until decisions regarding next year's opening 25-man roster have to be made, questions have already begun to swirl about the Blue Jays' situation in left field. That is, with all the accumulated talent -- Eric Thames, Adam Loewen, Travis Snider and Rajai Davis -- who has emerged, or will emerge, as the starter in left?
"Barring any other additions from outside the organization, we go in with a competition at that spot," Farrell said. "We're not here to make final roster decisions on Sept. 19."
Beginning to resemble an afterthought, Farrell made sure not to write off the speedy Davis, who went on the 15-day disabled list Aug. 14 with a torn left hamstring. He was moved to the 60-day disabled list Sept. 7.
"When you look back at the two years prior to coming here, you're looking at a guy who was a .285 to .290 hitter who played every day. He's got a skill set that's dynamic and we want to be sure that we involve that a lot. He's going to be in that left-field mix as well."
Farrell added that he still hopes to have Edwin Encarnacion -- who started at first base Monday against the Angels -- see some time in left.
Blue Jays shortstop Yunel Escobar played long toss prior to Monday's game against the Angels, but was unable to catch due to continued swelling in his left elbow. Escobar has not played since he was drilled in the left arm Sept. 7 vs. Baltimore.
"He's not ready but yet there was some improvement today," Farrell said. "He came out, did some running, threw the ball to keep his throwing arm in shape. There is some swelling in the elbow, in the forearm area, even though it is a bit diminished today compared to the last couple days. So while there is improvement, he's not ready to get back into the game yet."
James Hall is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.