The Dodgers closer sat down with Yahoo! sports to talk about his pending heart procedure, his transition to pitching, and helping his native Curacao.
Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen sat down with Yahoo! Sports recently, and touched on a few topics. He talked about his irregular heartbeat that has sidelined him at different times in the last two seasons, as well as the cardiac ablation surgery he will have to correct it.
Jansen will have the procedure next Tuesday in Los Angeles, according to J.P. Hoornstra of the Daily News.
Jansen was a catcher as late as 2009 before making the transition to pitching, a change he fought at first.
"I never used to like pitching, even when I was in little league. I used to pitch a little bit but I never liked that position. I always thought I was going to be a great catcher," Jansen said. "But being in the World Baseball Classic, catching for the Netherlands against Dominican, throwing that big out at third against Tavarez, then throwing out Hanley Ramirez, that opened eyes for everybody, to see that I had a great arm."
Jansen was on a major league mound in July 2010, less than a year after his conversion to pitcher. He has a 2.22 ERA in 141 career games, with 236 strikeouts in 145⅔ innings.
"It was hard, because I never wanted to quit as a catcher," Jansen said. "Everybody told me to give it a try, and I finally did give it a try, and it took me just eight months to make it to the major leagues. It's unbelievable how life is."
In his home country of Curacao, Jansen is raising money to build a basketball court for kids.
"I have so much passion for basketball. I go to the gym to see my brother play basketball, and I see so many kids and other people playing this game, and they don't have a tournament. I try to give back to my community that way and give more kids an opportunity," Jansen said. I love to help kids, because they are our future. I would love to help any way that I can."