On a quiet March morning, Danny Janssen lies on the ground next to Bullpen Mound at the Blue Jays Spring Training Facility in Flair Dunedin. He’s going to catch a bullpen session – one of the many ungrateful things that catchers take on course. Fifty feet away, Jose Barrios is almost ready to throw. Jansen, however, must be prepared for this to happen, so the catcher extends from his place near the house plate, rolling a baseball between the ground and his right hand to loosen it a little before his day’s work.
In 2021 a hamstring injury limited Johnson to just 70 games, but this year he is determined to play more. For inspiration, he looked to MLB’s most durable catchers, like Sal Perez, Yadiar Molina and Jetty Realmuto. “I have a ton of respect for those guys,” Jansen said. “It simply came to our notice then. That’s what I’m learning. You’re never going to be 100 percent – very rarely are you – so I’m definitely on my way to finding a good routine. “
He’s not the only Blue Jays player to be on the field for more games this year than 2021. There is nothing to deny the potential in this roster. But bringing together a talented team is one thing, keeping it healthy for 162 games is another challenge. And yet – what does it mean to go to the playoffs? If Toronto’s coaching staff puts too much pressure on the players, the team’s performance will suffer, but neither team wants to be on the bench with the best. This is a balanced job, a Blue Jess tries to navigate with both hard data and soft skills. In the months ahead, their attitude towards work pressure will shape their success on the field.
“This is the toughest puzzle of all the game,” said Blue Snow Bench coach John Snyder. “We try to stay ahead of performance, work stress and fatigue to get the best version of the player as much as we can. Make them available to us, but at the same time remember that we have to try to play a long game against their needs [only] This victory tonight or tomorrow. “