From Ben Nicholson-Smith of Canada’s Sportsnet.ca comes word that the Blue Jays have activated closer Casey Janssen off the 15-day disabled list in time for Sunday’s afternoon tilt against the Angels.
Infielder Chris Getz was designated for assignment in a corresponding move to clear out a roster spot.
Janssen wound up missing the first six weeks of the 2014 season because of an abdominal strain that he suffered near the end of spring training. Sergio Santos was the Blue Jays’ fill-in closer for all of April but got booted from that role eight days ago.
Janssen, one of the more underrated relief pitchers in baseball, owns an outstanding 2.46 ERA (172 ERA+), 0.977 WHIP, and 170/38 K/BB ratio in 172 innings since the beginning of the 2011 season.
Everyone is well aware of how good Angels outfielder Mike Trout is at the game of baseball. The 26-year-old is already an all-time great, having won two MVP awards — and arguably deserving of two others — and the 2012 Rookie of the Year Award. He has accrued 54.2 WAR, per Baseball Reference, which is right around the threshold for a Hall of Fame career. Trout does it all: he draws walks, he hits for average, he hits for power, he steals bases, he plays good defense.
But here’s an achievement that is amazing even for a player like Trout: he has yet to strike out this spring. In 41 Cactus League plate appearances, he has 10 hits (including a triple and two homers) and six walks with zero strikeouts. Across his career, Trout has a 21.5 percent strikeout rate, right around the league average. He isn’t usually such a stickler for avoiding the punch-out, but this spring he is.
To put this in perspective, 134 players this spring have struck out at least 10 times, according to MLB.com. 938 players have struck out at least once. The only other players to have taken at least 10 at-bats without striking out this spring are Humberto Arteaga (Royals, 23 AB), Tony Cruz (Reds, 18 AB), Oscar Hernandez (Red Sox, 10 AB), and Jacob Stallings (Pirates, 18 AB).
According to Angels assistant hitting coach Paul Sorrento, the lack of strikeouts hasn’t been a conscious effort from Trout, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports. Ho hum. The best player in baseball is apparently getting even better.