A healthy, slimmer Kenley Jansen made time for the media at last week’s Fan Fest hosted at Dodger Stadium. The first thing of note is that he is off his medication, and down about 25 pounds from the end of last season.
Highlights of the conversation
In regards to his throwing program, the Dodgers closer mentioned that he had been playing catch for about the last two weeks, and that he recently thrown his first bullpen since his heart operation in November.
When asked about his approach for spring training this year, Kenley responded:
Definitely pitch. Ain’t no sitting down taking vacation and helping you guys do media with the players. I’m going to do my job and get myself ready. You know, throw as many innings as I need to get ready for the new season.
Jansen also spoke about being overly competitive and not letting the game come to him in World Series’ past, and having learned from the experience.
That gets me beat sometimes. Being overly competitive. You know, respecting the count and knowing what the situation is and get better. That’s why I’m definitely going to learn from the World Series. Stay motivated and stay hungry.
Kenley also admitted that in April of last year he wasn’t ready, and that with his velocity down, it created bad habits to try to regain the missing speed and movement of his natural cut-fastball.
A new team
The subject of the club turnover during the offseason was brought up, and he was positive, but still a little sad about the subtraction of his close friends Matt Kemp and Yasiel Puig.
Man, we lost Yasiel Puig and Matt Kemp… those are my two boys. You know, I love them. But you got to look on the bright side — we got better. We got a true center fielder. We’ve never had a true center fielder. Now we’re going to have a true center fielder in AJ Pollock. He’s got a lot of offense and he can run too.
Having a guy like Joe Kelly — knowing that you have one more guy with Baez and Floro and all those guys. Motivates you to get better.
He did note that if he’s going to Colorado, the doctor says he has to stay hydrated.
Jansen gave the appearance of a man motivated to prove doubters wrong, but more importantly, prove himself right. The 2017 postseason and World Series drained him — the 2018 spring training plan derailed him — and a late season heart scare took him off his game.
2019 Kenley Jansen looks like a man on a mission. He has to be if he’s giving up the ice cream.
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