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Dodgers Pitcher Kenley Jansen Discontinues Heart Medication

In a storyline that crept into Tuesday night – Kenley Jansen remains as we have never seen him. In addition, Jansen has allowed seven earned runs in his last four appearances (four innings). This includes two losses to the Cardinals and a blown save to the Padres in that span.

On Tuesday, Jansen told Bill Plunkett of the OC Register that the medication he was prescribed to treat his heart condition could have affected his performance.

‘It’s like you’re sleepwalking out there’

Jansen was candid in explaining how the medication to treat his atrial fibrillation made him feel.

“I don’t want to make excuses,” Jansen said, according to the Orange County Register’s Bill Plunkett. “But it’s like you’re sleepwalking out there. It makes your whole body go slow. I felt sleepy all the time.”

Equally important, he went into greater detail.

“I tried. I thought the first day, maybe it would get better. Then the second day it was the same. And the third day…After that, I just thought, ‘I’m going to hurt the team. I’ve got to say something and get off this medication.’ It might be making sure my heart doesn’t stop. But I told my doctor I can’t pitch like this.”

Evidently, stopping the medication did not help Jansen’s performance immediately. Jansen was entered into an 8-2 ballgame and subsequently allowed two more earned runs, three hits, and a walk. He was bailed out of the effort by a lucky double play with one out.

Concern Moving Forward

Dodgers fans continue to wonder aloud on social media if Jansen is ‘broken’. Whereas most fans are concerned with his on-field performance; I find myself genuinely concerned with his well-being. While Jansen’s cardiologist deemed him ‘safe’ to pitch without taking the medication, it’s his heart. That can’t be stated enough times.

Los Angeles natives will remember the tragic tale of Hank Gathers; a Loyola-Marymount basketball star who suffered from a heart condition. Gathers elected to stop taking his heart medication and passed away on the court in the WCC conference tournament in 1990.

In any case, these are two different scenarios. Still, one must be left to wonder if the better option is to shut Kenley down entirely for the season and move forward with those who aren’t pressured to pitch with a heart problem of any sort.

How this storyline plays out over the final month will be one of the season’s key chapters to look back upon. What would you do with Jansen at this point?

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Written by Clint Evans

Clint lives in Ohio, and played collegiate baseball. He loves the Dodgers due to his first memories of Chavez Ravine when he was nine years old. The voice of Vin Scully has been a staple in his life since he was a kid. No amount of baseball talk is ever enough, and he wishes the regular season was year round. He has written about baseball online since 2007.

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  1. Let Jansen and his doctor make the decision about if and when to pitch for the rest of the season. I believe what Kenley said about the heart medication; it’s not a lie.

    Don’t let the “suits” in the front office shut him down. The Dodgers cannot make the postseason with this bulls..t pen, which the suits put together and Roberts continues to mismanage. Let the starters go 7 or 8 innings. They are the team’s best pitchers.

    • Agree the starts need to start going a little deeper into games down the stretch Jim. I think Wood did a great job of stepping up and doing that tonight. Simple blueprint from there.

  2. Thank you. I couldn’t care less about his pitching right now – he’s a good kid, I want him to be healthy and not take unnecessary risks.

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