DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Ricky Romero's third start of the spring didn't exactly go as he would have hoped on Saturday vs. the Tigers.
Romero, who is coming off a disappointing season, showed flashes of his 2012 form by struggling to control his fastball. He threw just 27 of his 47 pitches for strikes, while issuing three walks in two innings.
Toronto's No. 5 starter appeared somewhat uncomfortable on the mound at times, but Romero said after the game he was feeling OK physically and that he was just rushing too much.
"Early right now in spring, I'm overthrowing it a little bit and coming out of my delivery -- instead of being nice and smooth," Romero said. "Especially when you're ahead of the hitter, you can't walk guys like that. You can't walk guys period -- but especially when you're ahead in the count."
Romero was scheduled for three innings of work, but had to be pulled after two because of a high pitch count. He did get ahead of some hitters, but had difficulty putting them away. That's disappointing, but not necessarily overly alarming -- because he is throwing almost exclusively fastballs and changeups at this point.
The other pitches will come at a later date. But following a season in which he walked 105 batters in 181 innings, the priority has to be consistently commanding his fastball down in the zone before moving onto everything else.
"I'm not going to get frustrated over this," said Romero, who went 9-14 with a 5.77 ERA in 2012. "If it starts happening during the year, obviously you have to look for it. I'm not going to get frustrated in the spring. If I'm going to make the mistakes, I'm going to make them now -- and that's all there is to it."
Janssen still hoping to be ready by Opening Day
DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Casey Janssen threw another bullpen session on Saturday morning, and continues to make slow but steady progress from a right shoulder injury.
It marked the third time Janssen had thrown off a mound since suffering a setback earlier this spring. He is still only throwing fastballs, but is expected to start using some breaking balls in the near future.
Janssen will continue throwing every third day, and will eventually transition to live batting practice. There's no immediate timetable for his debut in the Grapefruit League season.
"It has been very good," Janssen said of his ability to recover after his bullpen sessions. "You're almost kind of wondering why it's feeling so good. But you don't want to look too much into it, because you want to look forward and you don't want to think about anything else. But, so far, so good -- and I'm pretty comfortable with where I'm at."
Janssen remains optimistic about being ready for Opening Day, but his status for that game versus Cleveland on April 2 still remains very much in doubt. He'll need to advance through live batting practice, a Minor League game and, presumably, at least a few outings in Spring Training.
There's slightly more than three weeks remaining to fit all of that into the schedule. It's possible, but he'll need to begin picking up the intensity relatively soon in order to accomplish those goals.
It's a fine balance between getting ready for the season and not doing too much, too soon.
"My goal is Opening Day, no doubt about it," said Janssen, who had 22 saves in 25 opportunities last season. "I think there's something to be said about breaking with the team and being one of the 25 that they take north. Having said that, I understand that the first 10 days, two weeks, whatever it is, isn't going to make or break the season, hopefully.
"I have to be fair to myself and the team, that I'm going out there giving 100 percent. April 2nd is still, no doubt in my mind, realistic. But it's not the end all date anymore."
Rasmus returns to action vs. Tigers
DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Colby Rasmus made his long-awaited return to the Blue Jays' lineup on Saturday afternoon against the Tigers.
Rasmus went 0-for-2 with a strikeout, a walk and a popout to third base during his first Grapefruit League game since Feb. 27.
In some ways, it's almost like Rasmus is starting from scratch again because of the prolonged layoff early in camp. He was rusty at the plate, but that was to be expected.
"Everything felt good," Rasmus said. "Timing was a little bit off at the plate. I started to get comfortable ... back in there, so that's good. It won't take too much time.
"Facing a pitcher like [Doug Fister], he was throwing the ball pretty well -- and me having not seeing any pitching, it was tough."
Rasmus is expected be back in the lineup on Sunday afternoon against the Yankees. With an off-day on Monday and a lengthy road trip to Fort Myers, Fla., on Tuesday, he will likely receive some additional rest early next week.
The injury originally occurred when a bat slid out of Rasmus' arms during a swing. He immediately felt a twinge, but couldn't figure out exactly what went wrong until he was examined by the club's medical staff.
Rasmus eventually found out he had slightly strained his right pectoral muscle and had an impingement of rhomboid muscle, which is located in the upper-back area.
"It was just sore for a few days," Rasmus said. "At first, I thought I hurt something in my shoulder. I didn't really know what it was. Then, I got an MRI on my shoulder, [an] MRI on my neck, so it was just that the muscles in there got banged pretty good when the bat slid out of my hand. It took a little time to get them back to where the next day I wasn't waking up sore."