Kenley Jansen finds himself in an interesting position as the 2012 season comes to a close. He’s the one Dodger we know is facing surgery in the off-season (there might be a couple others; more on them in a bit). This is no ordinary bone spur or knee scope, either, this is a cardiac ablation designed to correct the arrhythmia that hospitalized Jansen in September and inadvertently cost him his job as the Dodgers’ closer.
Jansen is scheduled to meet with head athletic trainer Sue Falsone and the surgeon, Dr. Koonlawee Nademanee, early next week to determine when and where Jansen will have the surgery. It’s expected to happen before the end of the month.
The website Livestrong.com has an easy-to-understand description of the surgery and its risks. Jansen is well aware that this is no ordinary surgery.
“You’ve just got to be confident in the doctor and believe in God, pray to God, everything’s going to be OK,” he said. “God’s going to take care of me. God’s going to take care of the doctor. Everything’s going to be better down the road. I don’t have to deal with it anymore. I’m excited just to get this done with. Hopefully there won’t be another episode.”
Falsone said this is the first cardiac ablation she’s encountered as an athletic trainer, so next week’s meeting will be an educational one for her, too. One thing she could say for certain: “He will need a blood thinner after the surgery, but we’ve got time to get him off those and ready for spring training.”
Jansen said he’ll stay in Los Angeles for a month to work out, and will do all he can to keep his weight down after the surgery.
“You know how the off-season gets,” he said. “Sometimes you start eating, not working out, my weight might get up there.”
As far as next season goes, Jansen believes he has earned the right to enter the season as the closer. It is arguably the Dodgers’ biggest question mark this winter.
Jansen led the team with 25 saves in 32 chances. His 76 percent conversion rate ranked 31st among all major-league pitchers with at least 15 save opportunities. Thanks to the Dodgers’ propensity for ninth-inning wins, four of Jansen’s seven blown saves resulted in wins.
Thanks to the Dodgers’ willingness to upgrade at any position under the Guggenheim Baseball Management team, general manager Ned Colletti might be thinking that he can do better. He might be thinking that Brandon League, who went 6-for-6 in save opportunities as a Dodger, is worth re-signing at the $5 million he made last season — or more. He might also be interested in free agents Fernando Rodney or Grant Balfour.
Colletti is scheduled to address the media tomorrow, and he’ll get a question about this at some point.
At 24, Jansen is younger and has the power repertoire Colletti likes in a closer. He’s never been the closer for a full major-league season but feels like he could do the job if healthy.
“I feel like I’m built for it,” he said. “I feel definitely really good. I don’t think about (next year). I’m just going to try to come and do my part.”