Kenley Jansen began the first of what’s likely to be five or six rehab assignments Friday with High-A Rancho Cucamonga. He started and needed 14 pitches to throw the scheduled one inning, allowing one hit and collecting one strikeout.
Assuming Jansen doesn’t suffer any setbacks Saturday, he’ll make another start for the Quakes Sunday. Since undergoing surgery on his left foot, it’s been presumed Jansen would return to the Dodgers at some point in May.
The 27-year-old Curaçao native said recently he’ll be patient with his recovery and manager Don Mattingly holds a similar review with regards to how often he’ll call on Jansen once the closer returns.
“I’m not sure what we’ll do,” Mattingly said. “The way our bullpen works right now, I think as long as Kenley’s healthy and able to go back-to-back, and we’re not trying to protect him in any way. At some point I think that’s what we’d like to get to. Now is that the first time out or second time out? I don’t know if we’re going to be able to do that.”
Without Jansen, Mattingly has relied on matchups but tended to favor Pedro Baez, Chris Hatcher, Joel Peralta — who is now on the disabled list — and more recently, Yimi Garcia late in games. Peralta leads the team with three saves, but Garcia is first in innings pitched (11.2) and games pitched (11).
Adding Jansen, who’s making $7.425 million this season, to the bullpen figures to add more length to it as he presumably will act as the regular closer. However, it will also force the Dodgers to clear room on the 25-man roster for him, which likely means one of the young relievers will be optioned to the Minors.
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