DUNEDIN, Fla. - Reliever Chad Green is getting the full spring experience this time around with the Toronto Blue Jays.

Unlike last year when he was recovering from Tommy John surgery, the veteran right-hander is building up for the campaign with a regular throwing routine and participation in fielding drills at the team's player development complex.

Green returned for the stretch drive last September but his presence over a full season in 2024 should make a deep bullpen ever stronger.

“He's going to be rock solid and he can pitch anywhere,” closer Jordan Romano said Saturday. “That's a great asset to have. A guy with experience, a guy that's been good his whole career.

“You just need steady guys, consistent guys, (so) you know what you're going to get, and he's definitely one of them.”

Green made his big-league debut in 2016 with New York and spent his entire career with the Yankees before signing with Toronto last winter. The Blue Jays exercised a club option on his contract last November, paying him US$21 million through 2025.

He was 3-0 with a 5.25 earned-run average, 16 strikeouts and four walks over 12 appearances last year and was used in both low- and high-leverage situations.

General manager Ross Atkins said Green “fit right in” with other members of the bullpen.

“Having another veteran among that group I think takes a lot of pressure off (the others),” Atkins said. “It's a special group. I was around a group like that in Cleveland a long time ago. You see what it does for other players and then what it does for the team and the level of confidence that they gain from one another.

“Chad Green has certainly added to that dynamic.”

Green was primarily used as a reliever with the Yankees before injuring his elbow early in the 2022 campaign. After signing with Toronto, he built up at Class A Dunedin and Triple-A Buffalo before making his Blue Jays debut on Sept. 1.

“I was just happy to get back, happy to be able to pitch and happy to be able to help out,” Green said. “That was the biggest thing going into last year, just trying to contribute at that level. I was able to do that.

“I'm trying to build off that ... get the delivery back right and not have to worry about the TJ part of it.”

The Blue Jays won 89 games to reach the playoffs but were swept in the wild-card round by the Minnesota Twins.

Toronto led the American League with 51 saves last season and was fifth with a bullpen ERA of 3.68. Romano anchors a relief crew that includes high-leverage options like Tim Mayza, Yimi Garcia and Erik Swanson.

“They've created an environment that has really high standards and is pulling for one another in a way that makes players better,” Atkins said. “Chad Green came into that fold and just with his presence and his routines, helped us take even another step.”

Over his career, Green is 36-22 with a 3.23 ERA in 284 appearances (24 starts).

“He pitched at Yankee Stadium for (over) six years, playoff runs, and did well in all those spots,” Romano said. “If you can pitch six years in Yankee Stadium, you can do almost anything. I love picking his brain. He's one of the nicest guys you'll ever meet and is super professional.

“He's always there to give you knowledge. He's been a great help to me and a great help to all of us. We're lucky to have him.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 17, 2024.