Toronto Blue Jays closer Casey Janssen has been placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained muscle in his lower back/left abdominal, as SportsNet's Shi Davidi reports. An MRI showed a mild strain, but the injury isn't expected to be serious. Sergio Santos will be given the first opportunity to close out games for the club according to general manager Alex Anthopoulos.
Janssen, 32, will be eligible to return on April 13 since the move was backdated to March 29.
Last season, the right-hander continued to serve as the Jays' closer after earning the role in 2012, while Santos was injured. In 52⅔ innings, Janssen saved 34 games with a 2.56 ERA and 0.98 WHIP.
Santos, 30, was acquired before the 2012 season from the White Sox for right-hander Nestor Molina. Santos was coming off of a 30-save season in Chicago before injuries limited him throughout the season. He returned last season to post a 1.75 ERA in 29 appearances with an insane 0.58 WHIP. Toronto planned to use him as a closer when the team acquired him, and now three years later, he appears to be getting his chance.
Janssen has had enough success that he might be able to reclaim his role even if Santos is pitching well in the late innings, but the seven-year veteran was also dealing with shoulder soreness earlier this spring. If he struggles to stay healthy this year, Santos could be in line for an extended stay in the ninth inning.