The Los Angeles Dodgers had an obvious candidate to replace Kenley Jansen in the closer role when he signed with the Atlanta Braves, but manager Dave Roberts made it clear the team preferred to keep Blake Treinen in a fireman role.
Doing such with the former All-Star closer would allow for Roberts to deploy Treinen in any high-leverage scenario, whether it was the fifth inning or the eighth. Thus, the initial plan was to operate with a closer-by-committee approach.
That didn’t wind up being necessary as the Dodgers traded AJ Pollock to the Chicago White Sox in exchange for Craig Kimbrel. Meanwhile, Treinen managed to make just three appearances before being placed on the 10-day injured list due to right shoulder discomfort.
He’s yet to begin throwing and Roberts said Treinen will remain on the IL for more time than first anticipated, according to Jack Harris of the L.A. Times:
With set-up man Blake Treinen out for the foreseeable future with a shoulder injury — Roberts reiterated Sunday that Treinen’s recovery is “gonna be a longer process” — Kahnle could help compensate in key leverage innings.
The more time that passes without Treinen being able to throw, the longer his road to returning will become. Andrew Heaney is in a similar situation, and David Price just started throwing as he tries to return from a positive coronavirus (COVID-19) test.
The Dodgers initially tried to provide rest as a remedy for Treinen, but the hope that he would be available for a weekend series against the San Diego Padres never came to be.
Treinen recently underwent an MRI, but Roberts has twice said he does not have complete details of what it revealed.
Kahnle to fill in for Treinen
Treinen’s injury was a factor in the Dodgers activating Tommy Kahnle off the 10-day IL earlier than anticipated. Rather than being placed on the active roster for the San Francisco Giants series, he was in the bullpen for the finale against the Detroit Tigers.
Roberts said he envisions Kahnle being used in high-leverage situations, particularly while Treinen is out, but added the Dodgers will ease him into such scenarios.
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