Before he became the Los Angeles Dodgers’ closer, right-hander Kenley Jansen was a catcher.
In 2009, the organization decided to move Jansen from catcher to pitcher and he quickly ascended through the ranks to reach the big leagues in 2010. As a relief pitcher, it is rare for Jansen to step into the batters box; however, in the ninth inning of Thursday’s game against the Atlanta Braves, Jansen grabbed a bat and hit for himself. He struck out.
According to J.P. Hoornstra of the LA Daily News, Jansen was all smiles and jokes after the game in response to his at-bat:
I just looked like Puig in the All-Star Game,” he joked.
Yasiel Puig went 0-for-3 in his first career All-Star appearance this season, striking out all three times. He also failed to hit a home run in the Home Run Derby.
For Jansen, it was his fourth career plate appearance and first since last year. The right-handed pitcher is a switch-hitter at the plate. In his career, Jansen is now 1-for-3 with a walk. Atlanta Braves’ manager Fredi Gonzalez brought in a right-hander to face Jansen, who was 0-for-1 as a left-handed hitter. Jansen used Clayton Kershaw’s batting helmet and Justin Turner’s bat and was visibly frustrated after a big cut that resulted in a foul ball. Before his at-bat, cameras showed Juan Uribe assisting Jansen in putting on an elbow guard.
While the Dodgers won’t be needing an at-bat from their flamethrower, it is somewhat a relief to know they have a former position player if needed.
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