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Kenley Jansen completes rehab assignment, set for Saturday activation

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Kenley Jansen, seen here pitching on May 3, has completed his minor league rehab assignment.
Kenley Jansen, seen here pitching on May 3, has completed his minor league rehab assignment.
Photo: Craig Minami | True Blue LA

LOS ANGELES -- Dodgers closer threw a scoreless inning in the final game of his rehab assignment for Class-A Rancho Cucamonga on Wednesday night, moving one step closer to getting activated from the disabled list on Saturday.

Jansen pitched a perfect first inning for the Quakes on Wednesday, against the Bakersfield Blaze (Mariners). He allowed a fly out, then struck out the last two batters he faced.

"He's been able to do everything we've asked him to do — the number of outings, the PFPs — so now really the main thing is that he feels good, ready to pitch," manager Don Mattingly said on Wednesday. "This is the end of his spring training tonight."

Jansen pitched in six games for Rancho Cucamonga on his rehab assignment, allowing three runs on six hits, with a walk and eight strikeouts in 5⅓ innings. He had surgery to remove a growth from the fifth metatarsal bone in his left foot on Feb. 17.

The Dodgers plan to ease Jansen in once he is activated on Saturday, ideally using him in a low-leverage situation in his first one or two games.

"We want to break him in, not put him in a game with the bases loaded and no room for error," Mattingly said. "We'll try to give him an inning that is somewhat comfortable, a clean inning that's not a pressure situation."

Dodgers relievers entered Wednesday night with a 1.94 ERA, with 112 strikeouts and 36 walks in 97... innings. Three different pitchers recorded saves in Jansen's absence - Joel Peralta, Chris Hatcher and Yimi Garcia - but Mattingly made it clear that after a few games, Jansen is his relief ace.

"It's the situation we're in, with guys throwing the ball good. Kenley in his words hasn't pitched in a major league game in a long time. It's going to make him more comfortable," Mattingly explained. "He's going to be the closer, there is no question about that."