For a bullpen that was the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Achilles heel last year and into the postseason, losing Kenley Jansen to foot surgery was a daunting proposition for this season’s group of relievers.
Not all has been lost however, as back-to-back three-game series sweeps have the Dodgers at 9-3 on the season with contributions coming from multiple relief pitchers. As was stated to soon be the case, Jansen was on the mound for the first time since undergoing the operation to remove a growth in his left foot.
“Just another step a long the way,” Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said of Jansen’s first bullpen session on Saturday. “He’s feeling really good. We’ll see how he comes out [Sunday] and hopefully his progression just keeps going. We haven’t hand any setbacks with him, so it’s been pretty positive for Kenley up to this point.”
Jansen also offered a positive review of his first time throwing from the mound, via Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times:
“Really good day for me today,” Jansen said. “Body’s in shape, arm’s in shape.”
Jansen wasn’t yet able to throw full-speed, and expects more bullpen sessions to follow with his recovery process evolving to include throwing live batting practice and ultimately some form of a rehab assignment in the Minors.
Jansen last season converted a career-high 44 saves, posting a 2.76 ERA, 1.13 WHIP and 1.2 WAR. However, he also blew five save opportunities, which is the second-most of his career; trailing the seven blown saves he had in 2012.
While Mattingly hasn’t named a temporary closer in Jansen’s absence and said he doesn’t intend on doing so, Joel Peralta thus far leads the Dodgers with three saves.