Kenley Jansen will learn Tuesday whether or not he will be able to help the Dodgers in their quest for a playoff spot.
The 24-year-old closer, who was hospitalized last Tuesday in Denver after experiencing cardiac arrhythmia, is taking prescription blood thinners. If he is able to come off the medication Monday, Jansen said he will be able to pitch as soon as Sept. 7 in San Francisco. If not, he will have to take the medication another four weeks, which projects to Sept. 28. The regular season ends Oct. 3.
“It’s my life,” he said. “I can’t play around with that.”
Jansen said he felt “fine” Friday, even throwing 25 pitches in a bullpen session and participating in a “totally normal” workout. But he did not take the field during batting practice and will watch the game against the Diamondbacks from inside the Dodgers’ clubhouse to avoid the possible consequences of being hit by a baseball. (Blood-thinning medication makes it more difficult for wounds to clot, so with any open wound Jansen runs the risk of losing a significant amount of blood.)
The incident seems to have left Jansen with a mix of optimism and frustration. There’s a chance he might come back and that his problem is treatable.
“It’s a common thing in the United States so they can find a way to stop it for good,” he said.
Yet Jansen also felt he did enough to prevent the problem on his own, more so than Dodgers manager Don Mattingly hinted yesterday. The pitcher believes he may have inherited the condition rather than caused it with his own behavior, which means it could be difficult to prevent the issue from recurring long-term.
“I did everything I can,” Jansen said. “Last year when it happened (in July 2011) I cut down a lot of bad food, drinking caffeine, drinking soda, drinking alcohol.”
Jansen said that surgery is “a possibility” if he continues to experience the arrhythmia. Tennis star Mardy Fish recently had surgery to correct arrhythmia, though there is no guarantee that he and Jansen have the exact same condition.
Even though Jansen hasn’t pitched since Monday, Mattingly said that the right-hander would go back into the closer’s role if he is able to return next Friday. The Dodgers have other options in the meantime.
“It’s frustrating,” Jansen said. “I see all my teammates working hard …It just breaks you down at some point because you want to be out there.
“The doctor’s got to decide what’s best for me and my health first.”