Kenley Jansen wisely puts heart health above Dodgers huge series in Colorado

Mark TownsendYahoo Sports Contributor

When the Los Angeles Dodgers travel to Denver this weekend for a critical series against the Colorado Rockies, they’ll do so without All-Star closer Kenley Jansen.

On Tuesday, Jansen was advised by a cardiologist to skip traveling to Denver for the Dodgers three-game weekend series after he was hospitalized with an irregular heartbeat during his last visit there on Aug. 10.

On Wednesday, both the Dodgers and Jansen confirmed he will wisely put his health ahead of baseball and not make the trip for what could be the Dodgers most important series of the season.

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Decision a ‘no-brainer’

Given Jansen’s medical history, and especially so in Denver, where the altitude can impact a person’s health, it’s not surprising at all that a doctor would recommend Jansen skip the trip. Once the Dodgers learned of the cardiologist’s recommendation, manager Dave Roberts says the decision to keep Jansen behind in Los Angeles was a no-brainer.

The Dodgers entered play on Wednesday one-half game behind Colorado for first place in the National League West. It’s a series where they’d obviously prefer to have all hands on deck, but it’s not worth the risk to Jansen’s long-term health.

Jansen took to Twitter Wednesday to express how disappointed he is he won’t be with his teammates:

Jansen will resume his closing duties Monday in Cincinnati.

Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen confirmed his will skip the upcoming series in Colorado as a precaution following irregular heartbeat in August. (AP)
Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen confirmed his will skip the upcoming series in Colorado as a precaution following irregular heartbeat in August. (AP)

Previous heart issues

Jansen has had irregular heartbeat issues, or atrial fibrillation episodes, on multiple occasions during his playing career. That included a 2012 trip to Denver. Jansen underwent ablation surgery following the 2012 season, and is expected to have another procedure during the upcoming offseason.

Who will fill in for Kenley Jansen?

Thanks to the September roster expansion, Dave Roberts will have more options to fill in for Jansen. That doesn’t necessarily mean the Dodgers will have better options though.

The Dodgers bullpen was abysmal following Jansen’s issue in Denver last month. They lost five straight games in the immediate aftermath, many of which were the result of poor late-inning relief pitching. They’ve since acquired veteran Ryan Madson, who’s had previous closing experience. But they still lack a shut down guy who Roberts can plug in confidently.

Known for mixing and matching his relievers to bridge the gap from starting pitcher to Jansen in the ninth inning, Roberts will undoubtedly use the extra depth to create as many positive matchups as possible. Whether that works or not will have a major impact on this weekend’s results against the Rockies.

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