After leaving Friday’s Grapefruit League game against the Braves with lightheadedness, Red Sox closer Kenley Jansen appears to be doing better.
Jansen left in the ninth inning of Friday night’s 9-8 win over Atlanta at JetBlue Park after feeling dizzy on the mound. The right-hander told reporters (including MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo) that the feeling was unlike anything he had ever experienced while pitching before.
“I’m a little bit better,” Jansen said Saturday. “I still, a little bit, feel something. I was just out of it. It’s not smart to keep pitching in spring training games when you’re kind of blacking out, out there, a little bit.”
Jansen was back at the Fenway South complex in Fort Myers on Saturday morning, but the Red Sox sent him back home to rest shortly thereafter. According to Cotillo, the 35-year-old “complained of dizziness and nausea and wondered aloud if he had contracted a virus.”
In a separate conversation, Red Sox manager Alex Cora was optimistic that Jansen would be able to return to camp later Saturday afternoon and make his scheduled appearance in Sunday’s home game against the Twins.
“He doesn’t feel great today so we sent him home,” said Cora. “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.”
When asked about the possible cause of Jansen’s ailment, Cora said: “Maybe something he ate. I gave him some rice and beans after the game last night, some pork chops. He probably didn’t feel good about that.”
Before departing on Friday, Jansen had already given up a then-game-tying, two-run home run to minor-league catcher to Adam Zebrowski. He surrendered three runs altogether and now owns a 7.71 ERA in five appearances (4 2/3 innings pitched) this spring.
The Red Sox signed Jansen to a two-year, $32 million contract in December. The three-time All-Star was brought in to anchor a bullpen that was among the worst in the American League last season.
Over the course of establishing himself as one of the top closers in baseball, though, Jansen has dealt with heart issues throughout his career. In 2011, he was diagnosed with an irregular heartbeat, which has caused him to miss time in the past. He has also undergone two cardiac ablation procedures (in 2012 and 2018) to combat the issue.
Despite Friday’s scare, the Red Sox and Jansen are both confident that this latest incident was not related to the righty’s heart. As such, Jansen — as of now — is expected to be ready for Opening Day on March 30.
“There’s no concerns about the other stuff that happened in the past,” Cora said.
(Picture of Kenley Jansen: Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)