When Kenley Jansen experienced an irregular heartbeat last week some speculated that he could miss a month. That won’t be the case if he has his way. He said yesterday that he expects to be back next week, assuming he suffers no side effects from his medication between now and then.
Jansen threw a successful bullpen session on Monday, did conditioning work yesterday, and is planning to throw to hitters today. He’ll then travel with the Dodgers to Seattle and face hitters again on Friday at which a point a decision will be made about activating him. Given that the Dodgers are struggling, particularly with the bullpen, that decision is likely to be affirmative unless there is any reason to be concerned with Jansen’s health between now and then. He’s currently on blood-thinners and says he’s responding well.
All of that said, Jansen told reporters yesterday that there’s a good chance he will need a heart procedure in the offseason, the sort of which he had after his last occurrence of an irregular heartbeat back in 2012.
Jansen’s 32 saves ties him for the NL lead with Wade Davis of the Rockies.
Building on a report from early September, Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen is slated to undergo a heart procedure on November 26. The estimated recovery time ranges from two to eight weeks, according to comments Jansen made Friday, and he expects to be able to rejoin the team once spring training rolls around next year.
Jansen, 31, was first diagnosed with an irregular heartbeat in 2011 and missed significant time during the 2011, 2012, and 2018 seasons due to the condition. He underwent his first surgery to correct the irregularity in 2012, but suffered recurring symptoms that could not be treated long-term with the heart medication and blood thinners that had been prescribed to him. Scarier still was the “atrial fibrillation episode” that the reliever experienced during a road trip to Colorado in August; per MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick, the high altitude exacerbated his heart condition and left him susceptible to future episodes in the event that he chose to return to the Rockies’ Coors Field.
Heart issues notwithstanding, the veteran right-hander pitched through his third straight All-Star season in 2018. Overall, he saw a downward trend in most of his stats, but still collected 38 saves in 59 opportunities and finished the season with a respectable 3.01 ERA, 2.1 BB/9 and 10.3 SO/9 through 71 2/3 innings. In October, he helped carry the Dodgers to their second consecutive pennant and wrapped up his sixth postseason run with three saves, two blown saves, and a 1.69 ERA across 10 2/3 innings.