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LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 20: Kenley Jansen #74 of the Los Angeles Dodgers reacts to a groundball for the final Washington Nationals out and a save to become the Los Angeles Dodgers all time save leader at Dodger Stadium on June 20, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Heart Surgery Can Wait For Kenley Jansen, Dodgers Postseason Comes First

Patience in times of urgency is something Los Angeles Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen knows too well. It’s actually what his career is predicated on.

The 2018 MLB regular season ends on Sept. 30, so the playoffs are just around the corner.

Kenley Jansen faces heart surgery

It’ll be a trial of his confidence in himself once Jansen sets aside baseball — and everything else — for heart surgery later this year. A career marked by a cool demeanor and a scorching right arm, Jansen, the three-time All-Star, is set to willingly postpone his surgery in order to lead his team toward a deep playoff run. But, like always, Jansen’s gonna take it slow, one pitch at a time. 

That’s something he’ll continue to do come October when the team looks to redeem itself from 2017’s heartbreaking World Series loss in seven games to the Astros. As a closer, the weight on his shoulders presses downward, increasingly as the moment grows; when the Dodgers face moments of perilous proportions, it is Jansen they rely on for security. Once his postseason heroics, in whatever form they take, secede for the long winter of the Major League Baseball offseason, it’ll be the Dodgers that Jansen will depend on for support.

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Seven years ago, when Jansen was just one season into the bigs, embarking on a new path of his life, something bridged his uncertainty as a rookie to the confidence he has now as a proven All-Star. An irregular heartbeat startled Jansen and his family, but he recovered and never experienced any severity, that is until August of this year.

Jansen missed ten days with the Dodgers, who struggled mightily in his absence, due to the same ailment. This prompted the need for surgery, and also prompted a pivotal decision that needed to be made about his future with the team. Considering the recent and potential success of his team, Jansen decided that his doctor’s advisement was one to trust. He could complete the remainder of the season but had to retain a strict regimen of medicine and pills to ensure his safety. He feels that he’s almost back to normal, and is confident, as always, that he’ll have an impact on the depth of the bullpen.

As far as baseball goes, Jansen is just as sure that he’ll follow up the second heat of his 2018 All-Star campaign with a similar rigor. “I feel like I can control it again,” Jansen said about his two-seamer. “It’s not cutting too big. It’s doing its thing; it just moves late at the end. That’s what I see. I feel good about it.”

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His two-seamer contorts itself in an odd fashion; its incongruous movement barrels down the mound, unpredictably, but Jansen’s always in control of it. The final moments of the World Series might be something to fear, especially when Jansen hasn’t ever taken it head on, but he’s seen worse.

Two of the most daunting and challenging moments of his life are approaching rapidly, but its what he’s used to, and its when he’s at his best.

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Written by Red Young