Kenley Jansen underwent surgery last week to address his irregular heartbeat and the Dodgers closer felt good enough to participate in a charity event yesterday.
Jansen has missed time during the past two seasons because of the irregular heartbeat and was forced to take blood thinners this season, but told Ken Gurnick of MLB.com that he already feels significantly different:
I feel so much better now than I did at the end of the season. I was dragging all day long at the end. I can tell I’ve got so much more energy. … I’m feeling so good. It wasn’t scary at all. I just wanted to get it over with. I feel it’s a relief and it will be good for me for the rest of my life. I just wanted to get it done, and I know this doctor is one of the great experts and I have a lot of confidence in him.
That’s great to hear, because Jansen is an incredible pitcher and at age 25 has an extremely bright future ahead of him as one of the most dominant relievers in baseball. That he’s been able to post a 2.22 ERA with 14.6 strikeouts per nine innings despite his energy level waning should be a pretty scary thought for NL hitters.
Clayton Kershaw had nothing left to prove when he exited the mound during his last Cactus League start on Friday. He finished camp with a 0.00 ERA, made all the more impressive after he extended his scoreless streak to 21 1/3 innings following 6 2/3 frames of one-hit ball against the Royals.
In six spring training starts this year, the Dodgers southpaw racked up 12 hits, four walks and 23 strikeouts. His velocity appeared to fluctuate between the high-80s and low-90s from start to start, but manager Dave Roberts told reporters that he expects Kershaw to get back up to the 93 m.p.h. range next week. Kershaw is tabbed for his eighth consecutive Opening Day start on Thursday.
The 30-year-old lefty is poised to enter his 11th season with the club in 2018. He went 18-4 in 27 starts last year and turned in a 2.31 ERA, 1.5 BB/9 and 10.4 SO/9 over 175 innings. He suffered his fair share of bumps and bruises along the way, including a lower back strain that required a five-week stay on the disabled list.
The Dodgers will open their season against the Giants on Thursday, March 29 at 7:08 PM ET. Given the sudden rash of injuries that hit the Giants’ rotation earlier today, Kershaw’s Opening Day opponent has not yet been announced.