With Kenley Jansen and Brandon League on the shelf at the start of the 2015 season, the Los Angeles Dodgers relied on young right-handers Pedro Baez and Yimi Garcia, with Chris Hatcher, Joel Peralta and Sergio Santos mixed in.
Aside from Garcia blowing two saves this week and occasional bumps along the way, the bullpen’s performance has been admirable without Jansen anchoring it. However, health has also become an issue in recent weeks. Peralta joined Jansen on the disabled list April 26 and Baez too was placed on the DL with a strained right pectoral muscle Thursday.
While Baez appears to have gotten off relatively lightly in terms of severity of his injury, the Dodgers’ bullpen is now down four right-handed relievers who figured to play a role this season. Daniel Coulombe was called up from Triple-A Oklahoma City to fill the spot on the roster.
However, that’s expected to soon change as Jansen completed his final rehab assignment Wednesday by collecting two strikeouts in a scoreless inning of his sixth appearance with High-A Rancho Cucamonga.
Dodgers manager Don Mattingly previously has indicated Jansen will be reinstated from the DL on Saturday and eased back into the closer’s role. Jansen however, is already prepared for his return, even if it comes a day earlier than anticipated.
“I’m mentally ready right now,” he said prior to Thursday’s game that saw Garcia blow his second save in as many appearances. Mattingly wouldn’t commit to bringing Jansen back one day ahead of schedule.
“We’d really prefer it to be Saturday. That was the original plan,” Mattingly said while adding Thursday’s results could change matters. “We always try to give guys two days off before we activate them to make sure they’re good and strong.”
When addressing the media after the Dodgers’ loss, Mattingly’s comments hinted at perhaps a Friday roster move. “It seems like the timing is right for it,” he said. As for Jansen’s take after the loss, he didn’t demand when to be activated but again reaffirmed he’s prepared for his 2015 debut.
“I don’t make decisions,” he said. “I’m ready whenever they want me to.” Jansen appeared in 68 games last season and converted 44 of 49 save opportunities.
Dodgers Manager Don Mattingly Discusses Plan For Kenley Jansen