SATURDAY: Jansen will be out until at least Aug. 20, Dodgers president Andrew Friedman told Pedro Moura of The Athletic and other reporters Saturday. At that point, the team will re-evaluate Jansen.
FRIDAY, 9:54AM: Jansen is expected to be sidelined for around one month, ESPN’s Buster Olney reports (Twitter link).
1:11AM: Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen was hospitalized on Thursday due to an irregular heartbeat, manager Dave Roberts told reporters (including Andy McCullough of the Los Angeles Times and MLB.com’s Anne Rogers) after last night’s game against the Rockies. The issue arose prior to the game, and Jansen has already been released and traveled from Denver to Los Angeles, where he will undergo more tests later today. At a minimum, Jansen will miss the rest of this weekend’s series, Roberts said.
This isn’t the first time that Jansen has dealt with an irregular heartbeat during his career, as the issue arose during both the 2011 and 2012 seasons. The right-hander missed around a month of action in both instances, and underwent heart surgery following the 2012 season in an attempt to fully solve the problem.
Jansen hadn’t had any further heart situations until last night, Dodgers GM Farhan Zaidi told reporters. Denver’s high altitude may well have played a factor, as Jansen’s irregular heartbeat episode in 2012 also took place during a Dodgers visit to Coors Field.
More details will be known about Jansen’s condition after he undergoes his further tests, though obviously any sort of recurring heart problem is of the utmost seriousness. Both Jansen and the Dodgers will surely be as careful as possible in monitoring his condition, and even if this was something of a fluke incident caused by the Denver thin air, Jansen’s medical history surely means all parties will proceed with caution about a return to the field. One positive sign is that Zaidi said Jansen was “feeling pretty normal right now, from what we understand.”
If Jansen is facing another absence of four or five weeks (like in 2011 and 2012), then the Dodgers will be without one of baseball’s best closers through the bulk of the late-season pennant race. The L.A. bullpen has posted generally solid overall numbers this year, though obviously Jansen (2.15 ERA, 4.36 K/BB rate, 10.1 K/9) contributed heavily to those team totals.
Setup man Scott Alexander successfully converted a save opportunity against Colorado last night, and while Alexander doesn’t have much closing experience in his young career, he is the most logical short-term candidate to handle the ninth inning. Pedro Baez is another option, while Josh Fields only just began a rehab assignment after missing almost six weeks with shoulder inflammation.
With a lack of experienced closing options on hand, the Dodgers could also explore the trade market. The club was already known to be looking at bullpen help prior to the trade deadline, coming away with only veteran John Axford after looking at higher-profile names on the Rangers, Marlins, Rays, Orioles, and Tigers. Several of the names linked to Los Angeles are still on the board as potential trade candidates, not to mention multiple other relief possibilities likely to be on the move in August.