LOS ANGELES -- Few pitchers like to work in mile-high conditions, where thinner air leads to deep fly balls and high-scoring conditions, but playing at Coors Field has always held a special aversion for Los Angeles Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen.
In 2012, Jansen had to be hospitalized after experiencing atrial fibrillation, a fairly common form of irregular heartbeat. The following offseason, Jansen underwent an ablation procedure to fix the problem.
Yet the last time the Dodgers were in Colorado, in early June, Jansen was unavailable to pitch in the final game due to what he described as high blood pressure. He also said he underwent an EKG and received intravenous fluids earlier in the day to rule out another incidence of atrial fibrillation.
Jansen's history of health scares in Colorado could be a problem considering he is far and away their most effective reliever and the Dodgers are hoping to clinch the NL West title there this weekend to make next week's four-game series in San Francisco an afterthought. Jansen said he will be ready if called upon at Coors.
"I'm good to go," Jansen said. "It's not an issue for me there any more."
Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said he has not been informed of any limitations on using his closer in Colorado this weekend. The last time the Dodgers played there, an air of mystery arose after the game since Mattingly would only repeat, "he was unavailable," after every question when the Dodgers' bullpen blew a two-run ninth-inning lead and Jansen never stirred.
Mattingly said trainer Stan Conte likely will observe some precautions, including making sure Jansen is well-hydrated, to avoid another incident.
"I'm expecting him to be available for sure," Mattingly said.
If you subtract Jansen's walk rate from his strikeout rate, a useful measure of a reliever's overall effectiveness, you get 38.1 percent, best in the majors and just ahead of three other dominant relievers, Andrew Miller, Aroldis Chapman and Dellin Betances.