Jansen's return to closer role may be expedited
Dodgers reliever impresses in Friday's season debut
LOS ANGELES -- Kenley Jansen might resume his closer's role quickly.
"He didn't look very rusty," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said of Jansen's season debut in Friday's win, coming off foot surgery. "That's a good feeling for him, a good feeling for us, and a good feeling for the club, too."
Mattingly said earlier this week he would ease Jansen back into the closer's role, but said Saturday that transition might be expedited after Jansen struck out four Rockies in the eighth inning Friday.
"He's always been our closer," Mattingly said. "I don't know about tonight. We'll have a discussion. I want to talk to him and see if it was just as comfortable for him [Friday] as it looked to us."
Catcher A.J. Ellis got a rare start Satuday night, just his third start this month, and ninth in the Dodgers' first 36 games. Ellis gave Yasmani Grandal a night off before Sunday's day game.
"A.J. hasn't been playing a whole lot lately," Mattingly said. "I'm trying to get him in there against left-handers as much as I can. I never worry about A.J. as a [good] teammate. I just want to make sure he doesn't feel slighted. He'll be a bigger part of the mix in the next section of games, when we have day after night, and travel."
Ellis, 33, was the Dodgers' No. 1 catcher the past three seasons. But the team obtained Grandal, 26 from the Padres in the Matt Kemp deal in December. Grandal came out of Spring Training as the new No. 1.
Ellis wants to play, but isn't complaining. He works with Grandal and the pitchers as they prepare for each opponent.
"I know A.J. has made Yaz comfortable," Mattingly said. "I think A.J.'s been a big part of the transition for Yaz."