The Braves announced Tuesday that closer Kenley Jansen has been placed on the 15-day injured list due to an irregular heartbeat. The move is retroactive to June 27. Right-hander Jesus Cruz has been recalled from Triple-A Gwinnett to take his spot on the active roster.
It’s a worrisome ailment for Jansen, though this is far from the first time the 34-year-old has dealt with the issue. Jansen has thrice been placed on the injured list due to irregular heartbeats — once in 2011 and again in both 2017 and 2018. He’s had a pair of cardiac ablation procedures during his big league career in hopes of corralling the issue, though it seems he’s not yet entirely out of the woods in that regard.
The Braves’ announcement didn’t include a timetable for Jansen’s return, although his most recent IL placement for this issue, back in 2018, resulted in a minimal 10-day absence. The Braves are surely hopeful for a similarly quick return this time around, although the obvious broader hope is that, regardless of Jansen’s availability on the baseball field, he can remain in overall good health and eventually move beyond episodes of this nature entirely.
Jansen, in his first year with any organization other than the Dodgers, has been quite good. The three-time All-Star carries a 3.58 ERA through 32 2/3 innings, and secondary metrics like FIP (2.18), SIERA (2.07) and xERA (2.12) feel he’s been considerably better than that earned run average would indicate. That’s due largely to Jansen’s brilliant 36.4% strikeout rate, his strong 6.2% walk rate and his continued ability to limit hard contact better than nearly any pitcher in the league (86.5 mph average exit velocity, 28.4% hard-hit rate).
Taking Jansen’s place on the roster in the short term will be the 27-year-old Cruz, who pitched six innings of one-run ball for the Braves earlier this season. The former Cardinals minor leaguer has been similarly sharp in Gwinnett, where he’s notched a tidy 2.45 ERA with a sensational 24-to-1 K/BB ratio through 14 2/3 innings of relief.