LOS ANGELES -- Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen will miss the beginning of the regular season after surgery on Tuesday to remove a growth from a bone in his left foot, the team announced today. Jansen is expected to miss 8-12 weeks.
Jansen reported discomfort while running last week, and subsequent X-rays, an MRI and CT scan revealed the bone growth in the fifth metatarsal in his foot. The surgery was performed by Earl Brien and David Thordarson on Tuesday at Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles, under the direction of team physician Dr. Neal ElAttrache.
The Dodgers say Jansen will be on crutches for approximately 10 days, then will be in a boot for 3-4 weeks. His recovery time will depend on how he recovers.
Jansen had a 2.76 ERA and 1.91 FIP in 68 games in 2014, with 101 strikeouts and 18 walks in 65⅓ innings. Jansen saved a career-high 44 games last year, and has saved 97 games over the last three seasons.
This puts a strain on a Dodgers bullpen that proved to be a weak spot outside of Jansen in 2014. The Dodgers bullpen ranked 22nd in the majors in ERA (3.80), 27th in walk rate (9.9 percent), 20th in FIP (3.64), 20th in xFIP (3.68) and 21st in SIERA (3.41). Though through offseason moves the bullpen this year looks stronger on paper, having one of the top closers in baseball in Jansen is key to that plan.
Relief pitchers Chris Hatcher, Joel Peralta and Juan Nicasio are the key additions to the bullpen this offseason, though the team was rumored in recent weeks to still be looking for relief help, the latest by Jon Morosi of Fox Sports on Monday.
In December, even after the bulk of these additions were made, Dodgers president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman identified the bullpen as the one likely area if the Dodgers decided to make any more moves this offseason.
"It's against my nature to ever feel comfortable with the bullpen in the offseason. It's so difficult to predict year to year," Friedman said. "It's something that we'll continue to be mindful of and think through."
Among the notable free agent relievers left on the market are former closers Francisco Rodriguez and Rafael Soriano, the latter having pitched for the Rays under Friedman in 2010.
Jansen missing 12 weeks from today means a return date of May 12, missing roughly 20 percent of the season. The Dodgers aren't forced to make a move, certainly, but with Jansen out another transaction seems much more likely.
Pitchers and catchers report to Dodgers camp at Camelback Ranch in Glendale, Ariz. on Thursday.