5/24/2014 2:00 P.M. ET
Janssen gets breather after three saves in four days
By Jamie Ross / MLB.com
TORONTO -- Blue Jays closer Casey Janssen got a much-deserved day off on Saturday, as Toronto faced Oakland at Rogers Centre for an afternoon start.
Janssen delivered his sixth straight save Friday night as the Blue Jays beat the A's, 3-2, in the first of a three-game series. It was his third appearance in four days, meriting a day off for the 32-year-old right hander.
"He's been in a lot and we want to protect him a bit," manager John Gibbons said. "Given his [injury] history lately and the fact that's he's been pitching a lot, but we're thinking long term, too. We've got to guard him a bit."
Gibbons suggested Dustin McGowan would be available to handle any late-game duties should the need arise Saturday afternoon.
After making seven outings since returning from an oblique injury that caused him to miss most of Spring Training and the first five weeks of the season, Janssen has made a seamless return to the bullpen.
"You never know what to expect [after missing so much time]," said Gibbons. "He really didn't have a Spring Training, and he didn't have that long of a rehab either. It was kind of out of necessity that we brought him back so quick."
Friday marked the first time he's ever converted six consecutive save opportunities. He entered the game in the top of the ninth, protecting a one-run Blue Jays lead. After retiring two straight Oakland hitters, Coco Crisp swatted a double to left field and then stole third base, bringing the tying run within 90 feet. But Janssen did not waver, and he closed out the game by inducing a groundout from Jed Lowrie.
It's that calmness and patience that makes Janssen so valuable, Gibbons said.
"Looking at him the past two years, he's as good as anybody," Gibbons said. "He does it in a different way, not overpowering guys. But he's a great competitor and he's got nerves of steel. That's a huge part of the job."
Hendriks ready to capitalize on opportunity in Toronto
TORONTO -- Liam Hendriks has earned the opportunity to prove he's a big league starter, and he's hoping to make the most out of a second chance.
Hendriks, claimed off waivers from the Twins in Spring Training, had posted a 1.48 ERA in nine games with Triple-A Buffalo this season, but he had struggled at the Major League level the past three seasons.
He appeared in 30 games with Minnesota over that span, and could not find success. Hendriks only notched two wins in 28 starts, and in 2013 was 1-3 with a 6.85 ERA over eight starts and two relief appearances.
Hendriks was called up to fill the fifth spot in the Blue Jays' rotation, left vacant by Dustin McGowan, who's now pitching out of the bullpen.
After pitching 5 2/3 innings in a win over the A's on Friday, manager John Gibbons said Hendriks has earned another start. The 25-year-old Australian said he's ready to make the most out of his second chance.
"It's a huge thing for me," Hendriks said. "I was given an opportunity in Minnesota and I didn't capitalize on it. Now I have a different mindset of coming into the season, getting ready, getting aggressive and getting after guys early. I think it's paid dividends so far, and hopefully I can continue this trend and stay up here all year."
Hendriks allowed one run on three hits Friday, becoming the 40th pitcher in Blue Jays history to record a win in his first start with the team.
Hendriks said he's taking a more aggressive approach compared to previous seasons, and getting ahead in counts makes everything a little bit easier.
"I'm getting after guys," Hendriks said." It opens up a couple of more pitches that you can use, and you don't have to be as fine as I was trying to be when I was up there [with the Twins]. It's one of those things that I worked on with the pitching coach. ... It's really worked for me and I'm feeling comfortable on the mound again, which is huge."
• Saturday marked the first time this season the roof at Rogers Centre was open. The sun was shining and temperatures were hovering around 21 degrees Celsius (70 degrees Fahrenheit) 20 minutes before opening pitch. The Blue Jays are 568-507 all time when their home stadium roof is open. Manager John Gibbons said the open air and sunshine makes for a better baseball experience.
"I like the sunshine, and more people come out," Gibbons said. "That's the name of the game."
The first open dome game last season came on May 2, and on April 19 in 2012.
• In 22 games this month, Blue Jays first baseman Edwin Encarnacion leads the Majors in home runs (11), total bases (62), and he is second in RBIs (24) and extra-base hits (16). His 11 homers are the most he's ever hit in any month of his career, tying him for second for most dingers in club history for the month.
Jamie Ross is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.