Red Sox closer Kenley Jansen leaves game due to lightheadedness

Red Sox closer Kenley Jansen was taken out of Friday’s Grapefruit League game against the Braves at JetBlue Park earlier than expected, but it was not due to injury.

Instead, Jansen felt lightheaded on the mound, according to manager Alex Cora. The right-hander had come out for the ninth inning of Friday’s contest in search of his first save of the spring.

With a 7-5 lead to protect, Jansen gave up a one-out single to Hoy Park, which brought the tying run to the plate in the form of catcher Adam Zebrowski. Zebrowski, who has yet to play past High-A, promptly crushed a game-tying two-run home run to knot things up at seven runs apiece.

Jansen then walked the next batter he faced in Joe Dunand before receiving a visit from Cora and assistant athletic trainer Masai Takahashi. After a brief conversation on the mound, Jansen exited the field with Takahashi and the two made their way towards the Red Sox clubhouse.

After Triston Casas belted a two-run, walk-off home run in the bottom of the ninth to lift Boston to a 9-8 win over Atlanta, Cora spoke with reporters. He did not seem too concerned about Jansen’s status, per’s Chris Cotillo.

“They’re checking on him,” Cora said, “but he should be fine.”

Considering the fact that Opening Day is less than a week away, Jansen’s early exit on Friday was likely a scary site for the Red Sox. That being the case because Boston is already expected to open the 2023 season with five pitchers — starters Brayan Bello, James Paxton, and Garrett Whitlock as well as relievers Wyatt Mills and Joely Rodriguez — on the injured list.

As noted by Cotillo, it does not appear as though Jansen will be joining them at the moment. But what happened on Friday night is certainly noteworthy since the 35-year-old has dealt with heart issues throughout his career. Last summer, for instance, he spent more than two weeks on the injured list due to an irregular heartbeat. He has had two cardiac ablation procedures (2012 and 2018) to combat that issue.

Jansen, who signed a two-year, $32 million contract with the Red Sox in December, was brought in to serve as Boston’s closer. Following Friday’s outing, the three-time All-Star now owns a 7.71 ERA (four earned runs in 4 2/3 innings) in five spring appearances.

(Picture of Kenley Jansen: Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images)


Author: Brendan Campbell

Blogging about the Boston Red Sox since April '17. Also support Tottenham Hotspur.

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