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Mystery surrounds Kenley Jansen's absence

DENVER -- The Los Angeles Dodgers lost a game at Coors Field because their bullpen melted down in the ninth inning, allowing three runs. Meanwhile, their closer never set foot on a bullpen mound or on the field. Afterward, the team offered little insight into why Kenley Jansen was unavailable during the Dodgers' 7-6 loss to the Colorado Rockies.

Jansen, who pitched Tuesday night for the first time in a week -- throwing a manageable 16 pitches while getting the save -- declined to speak with reporters after a team spokesman consulted with him as he dressed in the visiting clubhouse afterward. Dodgers manager Don Mattingly would only repeat, multiple times, that Jansen was unavailable.

"I don't know who wants to talk about it. I'm not the one who wants to talk about it, though," said Mattingly, clearly perturbed. "He was unavailable."

A team spokesman said simply, "Kenley wasn't feeling well and was unavailable."

One team source indicated that whatever was ailing Jansen isn't considered serious and that he could even be available as soon as Thursday night, when the Dodgers open a four-game series at home against the St. Louis Cardinals. Jansen experienced an irregular heartbeat known as atrial fibrillation in Denver in 2012 and underwent an ablation procedure the following October. He has not had any further incidents that have been made public.

ESPN broadcaster and former major league pitcher Rick Sutcliffe, who was in the Dodgers' clubhouse after the game, tweeted early Thursday morning:

Absent Jansen, who has been nearly unhittable since he returned from the disabled list last month, the team turned to a couple of rookies to start the ninth. Adam Liberatore gave up a couple of hits and Yimi Garcia walked two batters to start the Rockies' rally, which included a Yasmani Grandal passed ball and ended with Nolan Arenado's game-winning sacrifice fly.

So, the Dodgers had to fly home in the wee hours of the morning to face the best team in baseball, with a bullpen that's in disarray -- and after a 3-4 trip in which rain followed them everywhere (Wednesday's game had about two-and-a-half hours of rain delays). The Dodgers are 9-12 in their past 21 games, in part because some of the young relievers who were performing so well early have begun to struggle.

"The ninth inning didn't unfold very well," Mattingly said. "I just think we ran out of steam. We've asked a lot of those guys in these past few games."