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Janssen throws long toss as rehab continues

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Right-hander Casey Janssen threw long toss on Thursday afternoon for the first time since being placed on the 15-day disabled list with a lower back strain.

Janssen was temporarily shut down because of the injury on March 29, but resumed throwing early this week. He extended the distance to approximately 120 feet prior to Toronto's series finale against the Rays and likely will have to repeat those exercises for at least a couple of days before receiving clearance to throw off a mound.

There's still no exact timetable for Janssen's return to the Blue Jays, but the club has been hoping he'll be available when the DL stint expires on April 13.

"I want to get comfortable on flat ground, obviously, before I get on a mound and let it rip a little bit," Janssen said. "One, you've got to make sure it's healthy, and two, you've got to mentally trust it."

Janssen will travel with the rest of his teammates late Thursday night in advance of their home opener vs the Yankees. He'll continue the light throwing drills in the coming days and eventually make the transition to pitching off a mound.

Once Toronto's closer passes all of those tests, he'll likely have to go through a rehab assignment. The Blue Jays are still unsure how many appearances Janssen will need to make in the Minor Leagues before returning, and that's one of the main reasons why his exact target date is still unknown.

For the immediate future, Janssen is taking a very cautious approach with his injury. The club doesn't want to risk any setbacks and strength/conditioning coach Chris Joyner is making sure Janssen takes things extra slow.

"It's funny, C.J. said, 'I'm normally the one that says go, go, go, but I'm the one telling you to slow down a little bit,'" Janssen said. "Again, I want to do it once and do it right. As bad as I want to be out there, I don't want to be back on the DL."

Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB.
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