Friday, March 04, 2011

Kenley Jansen, Future Mariano Rivera?

And you can't get any better comparisons than that, especially since Rivera happens to be Jansen's idol, too. From

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Dodgers' closer is not Mariano Rivera, but someday it might be his "copycat."

Coming into camp, manager Don Mattingly said it's Jonathan Broxton, but even if he regains his All-Star form, Broxton will be a free agent after this season. Hong-Chih Kuo, coming off a record-breaking season, is there to share the load, but management holds its breath every time he makes a pitch with that miraculous arthritic elbow.

So the closer of the future -- sooner or later -- is Kenley Jansen, who is already drawing comparisons to his idol and the best closer ever, the 11-time All-Star Rivera, because of something that can't be taught, explained or intentionally duplicated.

"My ball naturally cuts," Jansen said of the darting sideways movement of his fastball that makes it difficult for hitters to square the bat barrel on the ball. "It just has life on it. I throw a four-seam fastball, and when I want to throw a cutter, I spin the ball around and spread the fingers just a little and press with my middle finger and I know it's going to cut. When I started pitching, I was playing around with it and it worked right away.

"It's a good pitch for me, especially when I'm ahead in the count, because the hitters can't recognize it. Look at Mariano, he's been throwing it for how many years? Why not me, too?"

Nice feature story on Jansen, who seems to be well on his way to making the cut(ter).


Dodgerbobble said...

If he does end up closing, he's gonna need a song when he comes into the game.

Neeebs (The Original) said...

Loving this positive thought for our bullpen.