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Jays reinstate Jansen from injured list; relievers Romano, Swanson close to return

TORONTO — The Toronto Blue Jays welcomed back catcher Danny Jansen on Monday after a stint on the injured list and relievers Erik Swanson and closer Jordan Romano will soon be available as well.

All three players missed the first two-plus weeks of the season after sufferinginjuries last month.

Jansen was reinstated before the opener of a three-game series against the visiting New York Yankees. Romano and Swanson would be activated soon, manager John Schneider said in a pre-game availability at Rogers Centre.

Jansen suffered a small fracture in the pisiform bone at the base of his right wrist when he was hit by a pitch on March 13. Like Romano (elbow) and Swanson (forearm), he worked through his rehabilitation process with a few games at Triple-A Buffalo.

"Power potential, he understands the staff, he's a great catcher, a great leader, a great communicator and he's been here for a long time," Schneider said. "I think everyone respects him ... we're pretty excited to have him back."

Coming off back-to-back games with the Bisons, Jansen was available off the bench on Monday night as catcher Alejandro Kirk got the start against the Yankees. Kirk, who usually works with scheduled starter Chris Bassitt, batted sixth in the order.

Romano, from Markham, Ont., will resume his usual ninth-inning duties as closer role when he returns, Schneider said. Swanson was also expected to appear in high-leverage spots.

Schneider said the timing of the activations would likely be finalized after the game.

Relievers Chad Green and Yimi Garcia have been Schneider's main late-game options this season and both right-handers have impressed.

Left-handed setup man Tim Mayza rebounded nicely on Saturday after a few rough outings. Right-hander Nate Pearson — who reached 102.3 m.p.h. on the radar gun Sunday — has yet to allow a run in six appearances.

"When you get all those guys together in the bullpen, it's a pretty good mix of stuff," Schneider said.

Other relief options include right-handers Genesis Cabrera, Trevor Richards, Bowden Francis and Mitch White. Francis started two games but is now listed as a reliever after right-handed starter Yariel Rodriguez was called up from Buffalo.

Jansen, who will have some padded protection around his wrist, played four games for Buffalo ahead of his reinstatement. He hit 17 homers and drove in 53 runs over 86 games for the Blue Jays last season.

Kirk handled most of the catching duties in Jansen's absence. Entering play Monday, he had just eight singles in 47 at-bats for a .170 batting average and .429 OPS (on-base plus slugging).

Also Monday, the Blue Jays optioned backup catcher Brian Serven to Triple-A Buffalo.

Serven did not record a hit in eight at-bats with the Blue Jays. He made appearances in seven games.

The only other Blue Jay on the IL — right-handed starter Alek Manoah (shoulder) — was scheduled to throw a side session Wednesday in Toronto and pitch for Buffalo on Friday at Columbus, Schneider said.

"In an ideal world, he gets rolling a little bit," he said. "He's going to help us at some point."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 15, 2024.

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Gregory Strong, The Canadian Press