The Los Angeles Dodgers bullpen has been much improved this season, despite missing its’ biggest piece. Closer Kenley Jansen has been out since February 17 when he had surgery to remove a growth in his left foot.
Jansen began his rehab assignment, throwing three innings with the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes, and according to Ron Cervenka of ThinkBlueLA, Jansen said he will be ready to return to the big league club next week:
My arm is in shape, my body is in shape, I’ve been doing a lot of work,” said Jansen. “I feel like I’m ready. For next week? Yeah, I’m ready to come back next week.”
The 27-year-old saved 44 games for the Dodgers last season. In 287.2 career innings, he has 106 saves and a 2.25 ERA while striking out 448.
He pitched well in his first two rehab outings, giving up no runs and three hits while striking out two in two innings of work. The results were a little different in his third outing though, as he gave up a homer, a single and a walk while striking out two. He was not able to complete a full inning, as he reached his 25 pitch limit.
Despite giving up a couple runs, Jansen threw 17 strikes, and was able to mix his pitches well, leading to him being happy with the outing:
I feel great. I’m making pitches, I’m happy about the outing,” Jansen said. “The results [don’t reflect that] but I had a good outing. It’s just about me making pitches ”
The Dodgers bullpen has an ERA of 1.91 this season, which ranks third in the MLB. They have also struck out 100 batters in 85 innings pitched, which also ranks third. The return of Jansen, whose 101 strikeouts last season ranked second in the National League, will only help solidify the back end of that bullpen.
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