3/16/2014 4:48 P.M. ET
With options a factor, Blue Jays make cuts
By Gregor Chisholm / MLB.com
DUNEDIN, Fla. -- The Blue Jays made another round of cuts on Sunday morning, when they optioned pitchers Chad Jenkins, Kyle Drabek and Sean Nolin to Minor League camp.
It appears Toronto is putting an emphasis on keeping players who are out of options on their contracts.
Right-hander Neil Wagner faced a similar fate Friday, when he was optioned to Minor League camp. In other circumstances, Jenkins and Wagner likely would have received more consideration.
"Well, let's be honest, he is good enough to pitch in the big leagues," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said of Wagner. "He deserves to be pitching in the big leagues. But the way we are set up right now, really good pitchers, sometimes having an option works against you. You could say the same thing about Jenkins, he should be pitching in the big leagues.
"They're not far away. If somebody falters, if we keep somebody in the bullpen and they falter, and we feel like they can help us more, they'll be right back up. That's just the way the game works. Some guys that will be on the team that are out of options were in the same position they are at one time or another. That's the way the game works some times."
Casey Janssen, Sergio Santos, Brett Cecil, Steve Delabar and Aaron Loup have guaranteed jobs in the bullpen. The club has yet to make a decision on whether it will carry seven or eight relievers, leaving two or three jobs up for grabs.
Those spots will be chosen from a group that includes Esmil Rogers, Todd Redmond, Dustin McGowan and Jeremy Jeffress. On the surface, it would appear Jeffress will be the odd-man out, but that could change with two weeks remaining in camp and the possibility that injuries could eventually play a factor.
"The guys we choose to keep are very good pitchers, too," Gibbons said. "It's not like we're keeping somebody that can't pitch; we wouldn't do that. If all's equal, the guy with options -- tough luck, guy, that's just baseball."
The departures of Nolin and Drabek hardly came as a surprise, considering both were long shots to make the team. Drabek missed almost all of last season because of Tommy John surgery and still has some work to do with his command before he's a candidate for a promotion. Nolin is the Blue Jays' 10th-best prospect according to MLB.com, but he needs some more seasoning in the Minor Leagues.
Nolin, Drabek and Jenkins are all possibilities to open the year in Triple-A Buffalo's starting rotation.
Making roster would be dream for Redmond
DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Todd Redmond put his best foot forward in the competition for a spot on Toronto's roster by allowing just two earned runs against the Orioles on Sunday afternoon.
Redmond surrendered four hits and one walk while striking out four during his fifth spring appearance. He's now allowed nine earned runs in 14 innings during the Grapefruit League season.
The overall numbers aren't impressive, but Redmond is coming off a pair of strong outings and likely will have a job at the end of camp. Whether it will be in the starting rotation or the bullpen remains unanswered.
"It would be a dream come true," Redmond said of the possibility of making the team. "Just like last year, being able to stay up there for a little bit and then this year, if I make the team, it's another dream that's happening."
Redmond made 17 appearances, including 14 starts, for the Blue Jays last season. He posted a 4.32 ERA while striking out 76 over 77 innings. He also surrendered an average of 1.5 home runs per nine innings and will need to improve those numbers in order to become a mainstay.
The 28-year-old has never started the regular season in the Major Leagues. That's something he hopes to change this year, and he believes the recent results will go a long way in his favor.
"That's the goal," Redmond said. "It's not supposed to be an easy decision for anybody. That's the goal, you're supposed to make it as tough as you can."
Janssen progressing back from sore shoulder
DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Right-hander Casey Janssen is nearing a return to the mound and appears on schedule to start the regular season with the Blue Jays.
Toronto's closer was dealing with a sore shoulder earlier this spring and has yet to appear in a game. He threw a side session on Saturday morning and is now scheduled to pitch live batting practice on Tuesday.
There are only two weeks remaining until Opening Day, but Janssen thinks that will be more than enough time to get his arm into shape.
"I noticed the backspin on the ball again," said Janssen, who began to feel better when he was cleared to play catch approximately 10 days ago. "I had to get over a little bit of the mental, 'Is it going to hurt?' And it seemed like the little soreness was out of there, and I'm not looking back."
Janssen is no stranger to getting ready in a hurry at the end of camp. Last year, he appeared in two spring games following offseason shoulder surgery and managed to head north with the team. He went on to record 34 saves in 36 opportunities while posting a 2.56 ERA in 52 2/3 innings.
The hope was that Janssen would avoid a similar situation this spring, but a week into camp, the soreness in his shoulder returned. Janssen admitted to perhaps trying to do too much, too early and as a result he has decided to take a very cautious approach.
"Obviously the one thing we want to err on, if we had a setback, we'd be jeopardizing something," Janssen said. "As long as we did it this way, knew we were going to make it. Do it the slow and healthy way."