Kenley Jansen talks Dodgers, evolving as a closer, undergoing heart surgery and more.
By JOE McDONNELLFS West
Kenley Jansen began his baseball career as a catcher who threw so hard that he was converted to a pitcher.
In 2011, he dominated major league batters to the tune of sixteen strikeouts for every nine hitters he faced. And, much like all-time great closer Mariano Rivera, he is a master of the cutter. And only the cutter. Also like Rivera, he can't explain why he can get by with one pitch, but he does.
Last week he completed a rarity -- the reliever's perfect game -- as he retired 27 consecutive opposing batters.
Since he reclaimed the late-game role from Brandon League, he's recorded 19 saves and a 2.08 ERA. Remarkable numbers for a remarkable pitcher with a remarkable story.
He's been doing all of it following major off-season heart surgery that threatened to derail -- or even end -- his promising career.
After medication failed to cure Jansen's atrial fibrillation -- a potentially fatal condition that cause one's heart to flutter and skip beats -- a decision was made to perform a cardiac ablation. It's a procedure that burns out the portion of heart tissue causing the atrial fibrillation.
On The Joe McDonnell Podcast (
click here to listen) Jansen talks about his medical condition, his resurgent career as a closer and the magnificent season the first-place
Dodgers have put together.