Los Angeles Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen reported to Camelback Ranch on Monday — four days later than pitchers and catchers were expected to, but excused due to undergoing surgery on his left foot just eight days ago.
While the surgery was a surprise to many, it came after Jansen and others with the team were relieved following the MRI results, via Ken Gurnick of MLB.com:
The X-ray scared everybody,” said Jansen. “But the MRI gave good news that it wasn’t a big thing. They said it was mostly fluid that got into the bone, but if I had continued to pitch on it, the bone could get weak and get damaged, and they’d rather take it out now so I wouldn’t be out a long time.”
At the time of announcing Jansen underwent surgery, the Dodgers estimated he will miss eight to 12 weeks, though Jansen said Monday he’ll return sooner than expected:
I’m not going to miss as much as everybody thinks,” Jansen said.
While Jansen struggled early last season, he refined his mechanics and became one of the Dodgers’ more reliable options out of the bullpen. The issue of course, was getting the ball to the power right-hander.
Jansen converted a career-best 44 saves in 2014 and shot up to fifth on the Dodgers’ all-time saves leaders list. During his absence, manager Don Mattingly said he’ll rely on late-game matchups rather than search for a replacement.
Francisco Rodriguez and Rafael Soriano remained free agents as of Monday, though the new Dodgers’ regime has to this point opted against handing out large contracts to relievers. It’s plausible Rodriguez or Soriano could be signed at a discount, but it’s not necessarily a guarantee.
Instead, the Dodgers’ have assembled a collection of relief pitchers in Spring Training, both on the roster and as non-roster invites that should afford Mattingly plenty of opportunity to find his best options heading into the regular season.
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