Kenley Jansen made his season debut last night against the Rockies after returning from left foot surgery and he didn’t need much time to shake the rust.
Jansen tied a major league record by striking out four batters in one inning. Carlos Gonzalez struck out swinging to begin the eighth inning, but he ended up on first base after the ball got away from catcher Yasmani Grandal. Jansen then struck out Nick Hundley, Drew Stubbs, and D.J. LeMahieu (all swinging) to accomplish the feat. He needed just 14 pitches to get through the inning.
Jansen is the 74th pitcher to strike out four batters in one inning and the first since Oliver Perez last September. You can see the full list here. Here’s the video of Jansen’s inning:
Dodgers manager Don Mattingly decided to ease Jansen into things by having him pitch the eighth inning, but it’s safe to say that he’ll be closing games again really soon.
At the GM meetings in Scottsdale, Arizona on Monday, Rays GM Erik Neander was named the recipient of Major League Baseball’s Executive of the Year Award for the 2019 season. The Yankees’ Brian Cashman was the runner-up while the Athletics’ Billy Beane and the Twins’ Derek Falvey tied for third place.
Neander has worked for the Rays since 2017 but has operated in his current role since November 2016, taking over for Matthew Silverman who was promoted to president of the Rays alongside Brian Auld.
The Rays had, by far, the lowest payroll in baseball at $53.5 million, according to USA TODAY. Neander’s peers voting him Executive of the Year on the same today the league had to curtail its awarding of a prize belt to the team that suppressed salaries the most in arbitration is… certainly interesting timing.
At any rate, Neander’s Rays went 96-66 in 2019, finishing in second place in the AL East behind the 103-59 Yankees. The Rays claimed the second AL Wild Card and defeated the A’s to earn entry into the ALDS where they lost in five games to the Astros. It was the Rays’ first playoff appearance since 2013 and their regular season win total was second-most in franchise history behind the 2008 team (97).