Janssen using spring to adjust to life in National League
Veteran reliever excited to join contending Nats
By Jamal Collier
VIERA, Fla. -- New Nationals reliever Casey Janssen reported to a new Spring Training home for the first time in his career, after spending his first eight seasons with the Blue Jays.
"I'm still learning names, stumbling over names, trying to figure out which field is which field," he said Thursday, the first day Washington's pitchers and catchers reported.
Janssen signed with Washington near the end of January to serve as one of the club's late-innings relievers, likely as a setup man for closer Drew Storen. Janssen was enticed by the chance to join one of the favorites to win the World Series in 2015.
"We've been offseason paper champs before in Toronto," Janssen said. "I want to win and experience the postseason."
The Nationals will be a popular pick to win it all because of their stacked rotation and deep lineup, but their bullpen has some roles that are up for grabs. Rafael Soriano, last year's closer, decided to test free agency and Tyler Clippard, their setup man who became a fan favorite, was traded to the A's last month.
Janssen has been pegged as a likely replacement for Clippard, who posted a 2.18 ERA and 0.995 WHIP in 70 1/3 innings for the Nationals in 2014.
"Big shoes to fill if that were the case," Janssen said.
As Toronto's closer last season, Janssen finished with 25 saves and a 3.94 ERA and 1.18 WHIP in 45 2/3 innings, but spent time on the disabled list with an oblique strain and lost nine pounds in one night after experiencing food poisoning.
"It's a clean slate over here," Janssen said. "It's a new league for me, so I've got to learn the hitters, but they're going to have to learn me a little bit as well."
Jamal Collier is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.