Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen will meet with a cardiologist today to determine whether he can resume pitching Friday or must miss the next four weeks because of a cardiac arrhythmia.
One could downplay the significance of the meeting, but only because Brandon League and Ronald Belisario have pitched well lately. Since Aug. 20, the two-man closing committee is 2-for-2 in save opportunities, with 19 strikeouts and zero earned runs in 14.1 innings. Manager Don Mattingly said he is comfortable using League and Belisario in the ninth inning for the remainder of the season if he has to.
But Mattingly isn’t downplaying the importance of Jansen’s appointment.
“You can’t say that you can go without Kenley and be as good,” the manager said. “That doesn’t mean you can’t get it done. You have to make things work, that’s all. It’s like playing without Matt (Kemp) — you know you’re not as good but you can make it work. You can still win games.”
Jansen has had several days to accept that his fate is out of his control. For him, the hardest aspect of the past week was practicing without his teammates and watching games from inside the clubhouse. The precaution is necessary only because Jansen is taking prescription blood thinners that make him susceptible to losing blood in case of an open wound.
Merely wearing a helmet to protect his head from being hit with a baseball –which Jansen did after suffering a cardiac arrhythmia last year –was never presented as an option this time. Monday, like the previous three days, Jansen sat and watched the game from a couch inside the Dodgers’ clubhouse.
“It’s frustrating,” he said. “You want to be with your teammates in the game.”
It could get worse.
“It’s the same with the guys on the DL, like Matt (Guerrier) over a long period of time, Teddy (Lilly) — you’ve been gone so long you don’t feel like you’re a part of it,” Mattingly said. “It’s going to be a short period of time, hopefully. If not I’m sure he’ll really be frustrated.”