Los Angeles Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen encountered some big challenges on the mound in 2018, but none bigger than what he faced off the field in regards to his heart issues.
Jansen has dealt with an irregular heartbeat on multiple occasions in his career, and he even underwent heart surgery in 2012. The issue returned this past August when the Dodgers were playing against the Colorado Rockies in the high altitude at Coors Field.
Jansen was forced to miss a couple weeks of action due to the irregular heartbeat, and since returning he has been taking medication that he has been very vocal about not liking as it makes him sleepy and not feel like himself.
The Dodgers are currently in the midst of a postseason run, but part of Jansen’s focus is elsewhere. He is set to undergo another heart surgery this offseason, and while he obviously wants to win a World Series first, he is ready to get the surgery done and get back to being 100 percent healthy.
“You know, that’s a tough thing, tough thing to deal with this year, especially when I came back. I feel like I have two different personalities in me right now; one that wants to do the surgery already and then another one who wants to go out there and compete to help your team. So on this time right now I feel like I’m so, you know, so numb to it now,” Jansen said.
“It’s like I keep telling myself it’s maybe one more week of taking this medication. It’s not easy, definitely not, because when you take it sometimes you feel sleepy. But you’ve just got to go through it. This playoff adrenaline definitely helped a little to get myself into it, too.
“And like I say, I try to not to think too much about it and keep telling myself this is where we are in right now and we’ll be talking about this the whole year, to try to win a championship, and here we are a game away. You can’t take anything for granted and keep focusing on this one game, and everything will take care of the rest.”
Jansen could have decided to undergo the surgery right away, which would have ended his 2018 season. So it was brave of him to tough it out on the medication until the end of the year, risking his health in the process.
He has been outstanding for the Dodgers in the postseason thus far, throwing 5.1 shutout innings in five appearances going into Game 7 of the National League Championship Series.
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