When Kenley Jansen was first sidelined with a reoccurring heart condition, it was okay to fear the worst. Ruled out indefinitely, Jansen made it known that it was likely he would again need off-season open-heart surgery to correct the issue. Upon hearing things like that, it’s natural to wonder when you might see a player appear in a game again.
We ran a poll on the Dodgers Nation official twitter account asking you if you thought Jansen would appear again in 2018. The Dodger fan base was overwhelmingly bullish in their response:
Will Kenley Jansen pitch again for the #Dodgers this season?
— Dodgers Nation (@DodgersNation) August 13, 2018
Now, it sounds like things are breaking ever so slightly positive for the Dodgers’ closer. On Friday, a nice update was given on his condition. The majority of those 1,500 fans polled may just prove to be correct.
Kenley Jansen threw again today and insisted he feels “great.” He is hopeful he’ll be cleared to pitch on Monday. “I’m miserable right now,” he said. “I need to be out there.”
— Andy McCullough (@McCulloughTimes) August 18, 2018
It’s great that Jansen is keeping active and throwing on a semi-regular basis. While he’s saying all the right things in wanting to return – that’s a long ways from the organization weighing in on the decision. Remember, this is Jansen’s heart we are talking about. We aren’t the first to say it: in a situation like this, a player’s long-term health trumps the game of baseball.
As badly as the Dodgers need Jansen closing out the back end of games, he’s going to need to pass several levels of approval to get back on the field. The original timetable given around August 10th was four to six weeks. We’re just over a week into that.
This is a situation that needs monitored closely with frequent updates. It’s a great sign that Jansen is feeling back to normal, but it’s the reaction you would expect from a cornerstone player in the heat of a pennant race. He knows how badly his guys need him out there. Still, it’s possible if we keep hearing these same things in the next few updates; Jansen could be back sooner than the original timetable. At this juncture, just getting him back for a good portion of September would loom large for the Dodgers’ playoff hopes. Jansen has 32 saves to go along with a 2.15 ERA this season in 43 appearances.
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