DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Jesse Litsch made an appearance at Blue Jays camp on Thursday afternoon for the first time since undergoing emergency surgery to get rid of an infection in his right shoulder.
The Toronto righty suffered the unexpected complication shortly after having a platelet-rich plasma injection by Dr. James Andrews to treat inflammation in his shoulder.
The problems started almost immediately after the initial procedure, which made Litsch realize something had gone wrong and decided to get it checked out.
"I've had PRPs before, so I knew what it had felt like, but it was an intense pain that I had never felt before, and I have a very high tolerance for pain," Litsch said. "So I kind of gave it a day and then went to the emergency room. I went there once, they let me go, and I went back there that night, and that's when [team Dr. Steven] Mirabello stepped in, did his thing, and made things happen."
Litsch underwent arthroscopic surgery to have the infection cleaned out and now faces a long road to recovery. The native of Florida was wearing a fanny pack with an IV connected into his arm that fills his body with antibiotics.
The 27-year-old is required to keep the tube connected at all times and could be forced to remain that way for the next four-to-six weeks. Litsch won't know a timetable for when he can resume throwing until a much later date, as the team's doctors first need to ensure that the infection has gone away for good.
"I started moving it yesterday, which helped me sleep a lot," Litsch said of the shoulder. "So that's progress in the right direction for sure, and just go get therapy every day or three times a week, I'm not sure how that will work, but just to be able to be at the field is going to be cool."
Litsch was competing for one of the final two spots in Toronto's bullpen prior to his latest setback. Those two jobs are expected to go to right-hander Carlos Villanueva and lefty Luis Perez.
Cecil knows pitch location is key to success
DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Brett Cecil pitched a pair of scoreless innings against the Yankees on Thursday afternoon, but that doesn't mean he was pleased with the results.
Toronto's left-hander wasn't happy with his overall command. He managed to throw 23 of his 36 pitches for strikes, but there were times when he wasn't able to locate the ball down in the zone.
"I didn't feel very good," said Cecil, who allowed one hit and one walk in his two innings. "Last outing, the balls were up but they felt good coming out of my hand. Today, they didn't feel really good coming out.
"I can deal with a walk here and there, but the main thing is to keep the ball down for the most part. ... I definitely still have a little bit of fine-tuning to do, but it's only my second start of Spring Training, so I'm looking forward to the work."
When Cecil missed location Thursday, he missed by a lot. The ball went well high and out of the zone and, as a result, it wasn't much of a threat to be put in play.
But Cecil also managed to locate his pitches -- especially the cutter -- down in the zone when he really needed to. That allowed him to get a series of ground balls, and Cecil was never really in any kind of danger while on the mound.
"I don't think I'm coming out of my mechanics, but obviously with two of the faster guys on first, with [Brett] Gardner and [Justin] Maxwell, I was trying to be a little bit quicker to the plate," Cecil said. "So if they got a jump, they didn't get a good one.
"Shoulders, everything was on line, and the only way I can tell that is I wasn't falling off towards third base. I mean, everything was good, I think I was just a tad too quick, and I have to stay back and load a little bit longer on the back side and go from there."
Last spring, one of the biggest topics of conversation centered around Cecil's lack of velocity. His fastball dipped from the low 90s to high 80s, and it's only natural that the velocity is going to be closely monitored again this year.
Against the Yankees, Cecil was consistently clocked at 87 mph and topped out at 88. That might not be as high as in past seasons, but Cecil said it's not something he concerns himself with anymore. For him, it all comes down to location -- not the speed.
"I did the whole worrying thing about it last year, and I don't want to do that this year," Cecil said. "I know I can get guys out at 85 mph or at 92, it just depends on location. I can get guys out at this level, I don't need a number to tell me that."