Kenley Jansen made his 2015 debut with the Los Angeles Dodgers Friday night hours after being activated from the disabled list. Prior to the game manager Don Mattingly maintained Jansen would gradually be worked back into his role and wanted to avoid immediately using the 27 year old in high-leverage.
Low and behold Jansen found himself taking the mound in the eighth inning with the Dodgers leading the Colorado Rockies, 6-4. It didn’t take long for the hard-throwing right-hander to announce his return as Jansen struck out four batters on just 14 pitches in the scoreless inning of relief.
“It was an amazing inning. That doesn’t happen that often,” Jansen said of becoming the sixth Dodgers pitcher to record four strikeouts in one inning. As for his
With his first Major-League appearance since October of last season under his belt, the Curacao native was glad to have gotten it out of the way. “It felt great to come back and get that one over with,” he said.
“Just a relief just to be back. Twelve weeks, I had to be very patient with that and had to listen and do everything that they wanted me to do.”
Jansen received a standing ovation as the bullpen gate swung open and 2Pac’s “California Love” blared throughout Dodger Stadium. “It got me a little excited, I just wanted to go out there and do my best.”
Although it wasn’t the plan, Jansen said he began preparing himself to pitch in the ninth inning and treated his appearance as such. “The way the game was going, I was putting it my mind that something crazy may happen and I might be in in the ninth, he said. “When I was warming up, I just treated it like it was the ninth.”
Taking the mound in the ninth inning may become the norm for Jansen sooner rather than later, which he now feels prepared for after being thrown into the fire. “Yeah, definitely. I mean after that, I would think so. I’m ready.” As for his 36.0 strikeouts per nine innings, “That definitely will go down,” Jansen said with a laugh.
After concluding the four-game set with the Rockies on Sunday, the Dodgers have an off day Monday and then begin a three-game series against the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park. Jansen has a 3.34 ERA and converted nine saves against the Dodgers’ longtime rival.