Tuesday was decision day for Kenley Jansen, the day the Los Angeles Dodgers closer was supposed to find out whether he would be able to pitch again this season. But instead of getting a definitive answer, Jansen got what manager Don Mattingly called "middle news."
The bad news is that Jansen will likely have surgery to correct his irregular heartbeat, but after the season. The good news is that Jansen will probably be able to pitch again this season.
Jansen, who took blood-thinning medication last week, will be held out as a precaution for two more weeks, but during that time will be able to throw bullpen sessions and take part in his normal routine except for pitching in a game.
Mattingly said he expects Jansen to be ready for the Dodgers' three-game series at Washington beginning on Sept. 18. At that point the Dodgers will have 15 games remaining in the season. But it's better than nothing; Jansen could have received news that he was out for the year.
Jansen's expected surgical procedure, called cardiac ablation, is a non-invasive surgery that isn't expected to affect Jansen's availability for spring training in 2013. But more important, the procedure is expected to cure his irregular heartbeat, which has caused Jansen trouble both this year and last.
"It's definitely a relief. It's not something you want to worry about," Jansen said.
Jansen is 5-3 with a 2.54 ERA on the season with 25 saves to go along with 86 strikeouts in just 56 2/3 innings. Until Jansen is ready to return, Mattingly said he will use a combination of Ronald Belisario and Brandon League to close games, but the manager has felt the loss of Jansen, who has been out since Aug. 28.
"Every day I feel like I'm down a guy, the way I'm having to use the back end right now," Mattingly said on Monday.
The Dodgers hope that for the final 15 games of the season the back end of their bullpen will be at full strength, with a healthy Jansen.