Kenley Returns, But he Doesn’t Need To Be Babied
By Scott Andes
The Dodgers announced today they have activated closer Kenley Jansen from the disabled list. Kenley had been rehabbing at Rancho recovering from offseason foot surgery. The Dodgers optioned left hander Daniel Coulombe back to Oklahoma City to clear room on the roster for Kenley.
Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports
The Dodgers are not planning on using Kenley in the ninth inning right away though, and I think that’s a big mistake. Yes Kenley has not pitched at all this season, but he is no stranger to high leverage situations. Jansen saved 44 games last season, and has saved 106 games over his stellar career with a 2.25 ERA in 284 games.
For whatever reason the Dodgers want to baby him along instead of letting him do what he excels at doing, which is closing out games. The club is going to put him into low leverage situations until Kenley feels comfortable going back to the ninth inning.
The problem is we’ve seen this show before haven’t we? Any time the Dodgers have tried to usurp Kenley from the ninth inning and use somebody else they have spectacularly failed. I was hoping we were passed all of this. However Don Mattingly doesn’t agree.
Call to the Pen
The Dodger bullpen has pitched well in Kenley’s absence but chinks in the armor are starting to show. Pedro Baez was placed on the disabled list with a pectoral strain, and rookie Yimi Garcia blew a two-run lead on Thursday night, allowing a three-run home run to Carlos Gonzalez with two outs in the top of the ninth inning. The Dodger bullpen has now blown two straight games in which the club has had a lead in the ninth inning. Why Waste Jansen in low leverage situations?
Kenley is a professional and more than capable of handling the ninth inning, regardless of how much time he has missed. This is not to knock Garcia at all. He is a very talented young pitcher, but he is inexperienced and the rest of the bullpen is beginning to be overworked due to the starters not going deep enough into games.
Kenley has limited batters to a .177 average and .495 OPS against in those high leverage situations. The Dodger bullpen has been great, but they need some help at the moment. More than anything the Dodgers need their closer back in action. There is no reason to “ease him into the ninth inning” as Mattingly stated he was planning on doing.
Kenley is a big boy he can handle this.