For the second consecutive day Kenley Jansen was working out on the Dodger Stadium grass hours before his teammates took the field for another regular season game. However, whereas Jansen only did dry work from the mound (mimicking throwing a pitch and working on fielding) and lateral exercises Monday, he ratcheted up the intensity Tuesday.
The Los Angeles Dodgers’ closer, recovering from a February surgery on his left foot, faced live batters (Yasmani Grandal and Joc Pederson) for the first time since the procedure. Jansen threw his assortment of pitches and was pleased with the results.
“I was making pitches out there. I threw pitches where I wanted to. The slider felt great, the fastball was good,” Jansen said. “It’s always different when you’re facing hitters. You’re a little more pumped and more aggressive compared to your bullpen session.”
Jansen said he threw 20 pitches and his final pitch of the session was a fastball clocked at 96 MPH. Manager Don Mattingly also offered a positive review on Jansen. “He looked like himself,” Mattingly said. “Getting out there with guys in the box and with guys swinging, it’s a little like Spring Training for him.”
Next on the schedule for Jansen is a rehab assignment that begins Friday with High-A Rancho Cucamonga. He said he expects to throw six or seven innings in the Minors and continues to target a mid-May return, while also mentioning he won’t attempt to rush along his recovery.
“You don’t want to play around with this injury,” Jansen said. “You just sit and wait for the end of the 12 weeks.” An exact 12 weeks from Jansen’s Feb. 17 surgery is May 12, the second of a four-game series at Dodger Stadium against the Miami Marlins.
In Jansen’s absence, the Dodgers have received surprising contributions from Pedro Baez and Yimi Garcia. Both relievers may now be expected to shoulder a larger load with Joel Peralta, the team leader in saves, now on the 15-day disabled list as of Sunday.
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