Janssen takes what's likely his final bow in Toronto

Closer is slated to hit free agency after the postseason ends

Janssen takes what's likely his final bow in Toronto

TORONTO -- Casey Janssen's tenure in a Blue Jays uniform likely came to an end on Sunday afternoon. But before he left, there was one final appearance to finish off.

Toronto's closer came out and pitched a clean 1-2-3 ninth inning during a 1-0 loss to the Orioles. Like so many of his previous outings over the course of his eight years in Toronto, Janssen's inning was quick and almost effortless.

Janssen is set to hit free agency when the postseason comes to an end next month, and the sold-out crowd at Rogers Centre knew it. When Janssen walked off the field after the visitors' half of the ninth inning, he left to a standing ovation.

"It was weird, because I didn't know what to expect from the fans," said Janssen, who stopped and acknowledged the crowd with several waves before going into the dugout. "They gave me a nice ovation, and I appreciate everything they gave to me. It was just nice."

Janssen spent the past week doing a countless number of interviews that have brought up questions about his seemingly inevitable departure from the organization. Throughout it all, he has talked about the highs of his debut and later being named closer. But there has also been an underlying theme of regret.

Toronto is the only organization Janssen has ever known. He was taken in the fourth round of the 2004 First-Year Player Draft and made his big league debut in 2006. Over the ensuing eight years, Toronto never made the postseason or really ever even came all that close.

The lack of team success, more than anything, is what has bothered Janssen over the years. In what was likely his final day with the Blue Jays, he still had a message for the fans he has come to love.

"I'll probably do a lot more on the way home and in the offseason," Janssen said, when asked if he's had time to reflect on his Blue Jays career. "I enjoyed my time here, if it is coming to an end. I was grateful for the opportunity I got. I got promoted, was a starter, then got the opportunity to close -- and for that, I'm forever grateful.

"I still apologize to the fans and everyone that we couldn't bring the playoffs and a championship here, because deep down that's all I wanted to do -- and it was disappointing in that regard."

Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.