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MacArthur: Santos deals with rumours, Janssen progressing

Scott MacArthur
3/5/2014 5:11:39 PM
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DUNEDIN, Florida – The Blue Jays fell to 4-4 in Grapefruit League play following a 6-4 loss to the Pirates on Wednesday afternoon.

Brandon Morrow allowed five runs on six hits over three innings. He struck out two, walked one and hit a batter.

Edwin Encarnacion had a two-out, bases loaded two-RBI double in the third inning.

Here are some tidbits from camp:


SANTOS DEALING WITH UNCERTAIN FUTURE

It's an oft-repeated cliché but Sergio Santos really is approaching life one day at a time. Almost traded during the offseason - according to reports he was nearly moved twice - he continues to hear his name in the rumour mill.

"It's just been different or kind of out of the norm," said Santos. "I try to keep as level-minded of an outlook as I can. I try not to look too far ahead or try to think about things that I can't control."

Santos almost became a Texas Ranger in late November but a three-team deal fell through. He went so far as to travel to Arlington to undergo a physical and to meet with Rangers officials. He's not hung up on it.

"Luckily I had some time to kind of let that sink in and it's gone and I'm done thinking about it," said Santos.

Santos missed almost four months of last season due to surgery to remove bone spurs from his pitching elbow. In 24 appearances from his August 1 return onward, Santos posted a 1.69 ERA and a miniscule 0.516 WHIP over 21 1/3 innings. He limited opposing batters to a .327 OPS. Put simply, he was dominant.

In the final guaranteed year of his deal and with year over year club options through 2017 ($6 million in 2015, $8 million in 2016, $8.75 million in 2017), he's a prime candidate to be moved because the bullpen is considered a position of strength and others, like Steve Delabar, have years of club control remaining.

"I think there are two sides that you can look at it, as other teams really want you or you can dwell on the fact that the team you're on is trying to trade you," said Santos. "At the end of the day Alex and everybody with the Blue Jays is trying to make the Blue Jays as good of a team as they can in 2014.

"Whether I'm in those plans or not, like I said that's not in my control. Would I like to be? Of course."


JANSSEN PROGRESSING

Closer Casey Janssen, dealing with stiffness in the back of his pitching shoulder, played catch on Monday and woke up feeling good on Tuesday.

He's hoping to throw a bullpen session soon, although there isn't a schedule yet.

"Just with yesterday, see how it is today and then I think we can start preparing a plan but we've got to crawl before we can walk here," said Janssen. "We'll get there. I'm not worried about the bullpens and stuff like that. All I really care about is feeling healthy and if I'm healthy it comes back quick."

Janssen was limited in Grapefruit League play last season as he recovered from shoulder surgery. He pitched successfully through pain for much of the year, notching a career high 34 saves, a 2.56 ERA and a 0.987 WHIP.


NAVARRO, IZTURIS CONCERNED FOR FAMILY BACK HOME

Former Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez died last March 5. On the one-year anniversary of his passing and with political unrest on the rise in their homeland, Blue Jays Dioner Navarro and Maicer Izturis spend a lot of time worrying about family.

"It's so frustrating," said Navarro. "Thank God they're doing all good. They've been through so much and it's just sad and frustrating at the same time. I know if we keep on praying and staying strong, eventually things have to change."

Navarro grew up a block away from the presidential residence in Caracas, known as Casa Blanca (White House). His parents, Frank and Rosa, and his youngest brother Darrel still live in the home.

With a family of his own and business interests in the Tampa area, Navarro hasn't returned to Venezuela since 2009. He flies his family to the United States as often as possible.

Izturis hails from Barquisimeto, about a four-hour drive from the capital, Caracas. His wife and children are with him and his brother, former Blue Jay Cesar, is in Kissimmee attending the Astros' camp, but the rest of his family remains in the midst of the protests, which have fanned out across Venezuela.

It's a chore just to get groceries.

"You can go but they drive very quick," said Izturis. "You go to the supermarket and try to find out what you need. You need to go quick, boom, boom, and that's no life, you know?"

Both players believe political change is coming to Venezuela. They're hoping it comes at limited cost.

"It's such a beautiful country," said Navarro. "We've got so much to offer to not only ourselves but to the world. We keep on praying God is going to do something really good for us."


CAMP CUTS

The Blue Jays trimmed their major league roster by three, to 55, by reassigning catchers Derrick Chung and Jack Murphy and pitcher Luis Perez to minor league camp.

Perez, who underwent Tommy John elbow surgery in August, 2012, suffered a setback in his recovery late last season and has experienced numbness in the pinky finger of his pitching hand this spring.

Perez is out of options but is a certainty to begin the season on the disabled list. He'll continue his rehabilitation in minor league camp, which opened on Wednesday.

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