Before Yimi Garcia blew the save on Monday night against the Miami Marlins, the Los Angeles Dodgers knew that Kenley Jansen was near a return.
The plan laid out was that the closer would throw in one more minor league game and would return this weekend against the Colorado Rockies, health-permitting. Jansen has yet to pitch this season after missing all of the spring after surgery to remove a growth in his foot. The right-hander went back-to-back this weekend with the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes, and says he is healthy and ready to go.
Manager Don Mattingly was hesitant to confirm the return of his right-hander, but said that if Wednesday goes well, then he’ll be ready to return. Mattingly also confirmed that Jansen won’t immediately return into the closer role and said that he was fine with it. “I think Kenley was up for that. It’s really the way he wanted it. It makes most sense for us and him,” said Mattingly.
“We don’t want to just stick him into a game like I would do with Baez with bases loaded and has to come in and throw a strike his first time out. We’ll try to get him into an inning where he can get comfortable at this level. It’s been a while since he’s pitched in the big leagues. Once we get him right, then we know where he’s gonna end up,” added the Dodger manager.
Mattingly did say that once Jansen is comfortable, then he will return to save situations. The Dodgers have made it by with closer-by-committee, with Chris Hatcher and Garcia receiving most of the save situations. Overall, the Dodgers are third in MLB in bullpen ERA; however, they have just six saves total.
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