26 Aug

Six weeks into the season, Dodgers’ Kenley Jansen finds his Opening Day form

first_img Dodgers bench slumping Cody Bellinger for a day Dodgers’ Justin Turner looking rejuvenated on defense LOS ANGELES — Kenley Jansen isn’t back. Not all the way.The Dodgers’ closer hasn’t allowed a run in his last four innings, a season high. He needed only nine pitches to retire Chris Owings, Nick Ahmed and Paul Goldschmidt on Wednesday for his sixth save of the season. The brief, stress-free inning was classic Jansen – a rare sight in 2018.Still, Jansen said, he hasn’t returned to his peak.“It’s getting there,” he said. “I’m not consistent enough. I’m not seeing consistent movement yet, compared to the few years I’ve had before. Sometimes it’s backed up on me.” Dodgers’ hot-hitting Corey Seager leaves game with back injury Whicker: Dustin May yet another example of the Dodgers’ eye for pitching Jansen’s measuring stick is his cut fastball, the pitch he throws 93 percent of the time. It averaged 90 mph in his first regular-season appearance and by Wednesday it averaged 93. Commanding the cutter has been an adventure too.“It’s not quite there yet,” Jansen confessed.Jansen threw 1,242 pitches in 2017, more than any year since 2013. So, before spring training, he and Manager Dave Roberts agreed to delay Jansen’s debut by a few weeks. That debut was pushed back a few more days in early March by a hamstring injury. By the end of camp, Jansen had thrown a career-low 4-2/3 spring training innings against major league competition.By Opening Day, Jansen’s command and speed were suffering. The 0-1 record, two blown saves and 4.02 earned-run average next to his name today were all known risks.“We could’ve been just as aggressive as we were in years past,” Roberts said. “We could’ve done that. There was an injury that took place with his hamstring. That kind of slowed things down. Once that happened, there’s really not a whole lot we could do – we’re just trying to get him healthy, get him ready for the season.center_img Sign up for our Inside the Dodgers newsletter. Be the best Dodger fan you can be by getting daily intel on your favorite team. Subscribe here.“Initially, we should’ve been more aggressive, but that could’ve created more health problems. I don’t know.”Devising the ideal timetable for Jansen was a bit of a guessing game, and the Dodgers won’t know for sure if they guessed right until the end of the season.For now, Jansen said, he’s throwing the way he expects to by Opening Day in a typical year. The past two seasons, he’s been able to add velocity into at least June. If Jansen’s self-assessment is correct, his speed might still improve by another tick or two. He’s confident his command will be better, too.Jansen would rather be optimistic than second-guess what might have been done differently.“I’m not trying to call my organization out or anything because me and Doc had that conversation. We all agreed,” he said. “Maybe I wasn’t ready. I’m almost there, where I want it to be mechanic-wise and all that. It’s not far. Just got to stay positive, keep competing and things are going to go well.”INJURY UPDATESThird baseman Justin Turner faced live pitching at Dodger Stadium in a simulated game setting for the second consecutive day. He faced minor league pitchers James Carter, a right-hander, and Mike Boyle, a left-hander. He even hit Boyle in the leg with a line drive.Related Articles Dodgers’ Dave Roberts says baseball’s unwritten rules ‘have changed, should change’ More importantly, Turner said, he was able to dive to field ground balls to his right and left sides. The left wrist that he fractured in spring training came through unscathed.“That was another box to check,” he said.Roberts said Turner would get a day off Friday before beginning a minor league rehabilitation assignment Saturday. Turner anticipates he will be assigned to Class-A Rancho Cucamonga.He might be joined by infielder Logan Forsythe, who was expected to fly in from the Dodgers’ facility in Glendale, Ariz. Forsythe hasn’t played in any competitive setting since April 14 because of inflammation in his right shoulder.Clayton Kershaw played catch on flat ground for the second consecutive day, extending his range a bit from the 60 feet he threw Wednesday. Roberts said there is no timetable for Kershaw to begin throwing off a mound, in part (at least) by Kershaw’s choice.“He wants little expectation,” Roberts said.ALSORight-hander Matt Harvey will start for the Reds on Friday opposite Dodgers right-hander Kenta Maeda. The Reds acquired Harvey in a trade with the New York Mets for catcher Devin Mesoraco on Tuesday. Harvey went 0-2 with a 7.00 ERA in eight games between the Mets’ rotation and bullpen. … The Reds optioned left-handed pitcher Brandon Finnegan, who was scheduled to start the game, to their Triple-A affiliate. … Outfielder Andrew Toles had a setback in his rehabilitation from a hamstring injury, Roberts said. Toles hasn’t played at Triple-A Oklahoma City since April 13 and his return is not on the immediate horizon.UP NEXTDodgers (RHP Kenta Maeda, 2-2, 4.02 ERA) vs. Cincinnati Reds (RHP Matt Harvey, 0-2, 7.00 ERA), Friday, 7 p.m., SportsNet LA (where available) Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img

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