Update On Kenley Jansen & His Status For Opening Day


Jansen Exited Friday’s Game Due To Dizziness

The Red Sox had a major scare Friday night when their closer, Kenley Jansen, left early from their Spring Training game against the Atlanta Braves. Fans were left on the edge of their seats, wondering if their team would have to deal with another injured arm in the bullpen.

Fortunately, manager Alex Cora announced that Jansen wasn’t injured but just felt dizzy, allowing fans to breathe a sigh of relief knowing he will be okay. He told reporters that he was ‘out of it’ during the game and it’s not smart to keep pitching in a Spring Training game when he’s ‘blacking out a little bit.’

Update From Alex Cora (Saturday, March 25th)

Jansen made a brief appearance at the team’s complex on Saturday morning, where the Red Sox ultimately decided to send him home to rest. He had been complaining of dizziness and nausea, leading some to speculate that he had contracted a virus. The team has not yet confirmed the exact cause of Jansen’s symptoms, but they remain hopeful that he can appear in Sunday’s game against the Twins.

“He doesn’t feel great today, so we sent him home,” Cora said. “Hopefully, he can come back around 1:30 (p.m.) and do his workouts. We still have him for tomorrow. Let’s see how he feels.

“Maybe something he ate,” Cora added.” I gave him some rice and beans after the game last night, some pork chops. He probably didn’t feel good about that.”

Will Kenley Miss Opening Day?

As said above, Alex Cora is optimistic that Jansen shouldn’t miss much time due to his recent illness. They will see how he feels in the morning and are hopeful he’ll be able to pitch against Minnesota tomorrow. So if everything goes as planned, the Red Sox closer should be ready to go on Opening Day Thursday against the Orioles.

Worth Noting Previous Health Issues

Kenley Jansen has had some health issues in the past that fans should be aware of, as he was diagnosed with atrial fibrillation in 2011 with the Dodgers. Since then, the condition has caused him to miss games from time to time due to recurrences of the issue. Even last year with Atlanta, he had to miss time due to an irregular heartbeat.

In November 2018, he underwent a lengthy 5-and-a-half-hour procedure known as heart ablation. It involved the insertion of a catheter into his left atrium and cauterization of the area to prevent it from sending abnormal electrical pulses. This was his second heart surgery in just six years, yet amazingly, he still maintains his position as one of the most reliable closers in baseball.

It’s also worth noting that the dizziness on Friday night had nothing to do with this condition, according to Cora.

Dont Be Concerned About Spring Numbers

Spring Training performances for veterans like Jansen don’t usually translate into regular-season success or failure, so it shouldn’t concern anyone that his spring ERA currently stands at 7.71 in just five appearances. The biggest thing is just keeping him healthy and ready to pitch when called upon this season.

Positive Development For Red Sox

While it’s never a good thing to see a player leave a game early, especially when injuries are already a concern, the fact that Kenley Jansen’s early exit wasn’t injury-related was certainly a positive development for the Red Sox. The team has faced its fair share of injury issues during the offseason and the Spring, so getting through the rest of spring training without any more setbacks would be a huge relief. 

Jansen is an important piece of the Red Sox bullpen, so any absence would be concerning. The reliever signed a two-year, $32 million deal with Boston, and the team is counting on him to help solidify the back end of the bullpen. Something they have not had since Craig Kimbrel left after the Red Sox won the World Series in 2018.