- The Washington Times - Monday, March 30, 2015

JUPITER, Fla. — An MRI exam revealed rotator cuff tendinitis in Casey Janssen’s right shoulder, and Washington Nationals manager Matt Williams said the reliever’s availability for Opening Day is “a question mark.”

Janssen, the leading candidate to replace Tyler Clippard as Washington’s setup man, said he had an MRI on Sunday. Williams announced the results following Monday’s game against the St. Louis Cardinals but did not lay out a timetable for his return.

“It’s good news,” Williams said. “No real issue, other than tendinitis back there. So we’ll take care of that and get back going.”

The second-year manager added that there is no timetable for Janssen’s return.

“Timetable on tendinitis, you don’t know,” Williams said. “He’s feeling good, and we know what it is. We can take the appropriate steps to deal with it, and we’ll see where he’s at. We have to make sure we give him some time to let the medicine take its course and then ramp him back up.”

Janssen is not yet cleared to throw, which means he would have a long list of hurdles to clear in order to be ready by Opening Day.

The 33-year-old has had trouble getting loose since his last outing March 23. He was scheduled to pitch in Saturday’s game against the New York Mets but did not make an appearance.

Earlier Monday, Janssen said he is not in pain, but the soreness is “something that just doesn’t feel like that spring training soreness.”

“I don’t see this as being a huge thing,” he said. “Obviously when I didn’t pitch the last few days, it’s never good but I’ve dealt with a lot worse.”

Janssen has a lengthy history of shoulder issues. He had surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder in 2008, then spent two stints on the 15-day disabled list because of shoulder inflammation or soreness in 2009. He mentioned shoulder soreness in both 2011 and 2013 but was not placed on the DL. This is the third consecutive spring in which he has dealt with shoulder discomfort.

Given that background, Janssen’s current soreness can be viewed one of two ways. It is concerning, because the shoulder continues to give him trouble, but it also something he has regularly overcome over the past several years.

General manager Mike Rizzo prefers to take the latter view.

“He knows how to take care of himself and get ready for the season,” Rizzo said. He’s had this before so he knows how to battle through it.”

Before learning the results of his MRI, Janssen did not believe the injury would be anything “earth-shattering” and was optimistic about making a speedy recovery.

“We’ve just got to see how it goes and how I feel,” he said. “I think the one thing being a reliever is that I did have a decent foundation before, and when you’re only throwing one inning, it can come back quick. So that’s kind of what I’m hanging my hat on. I’ll go as fast as the trainer and the body allows.”

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