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Jansen, Fields look sharp in spring debuts

Relief duo has been 'slow-playing' spring work due to heavy workload late in '17
MLB.com @kengurnick

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Dodgers' bullpen lost Brandon Morrow in the offseason and potential replacement Tom Koehler this spring, but Kenley Jansen and Josh Fields provided a little reassurance in their first Cactus League outings on Thursday.

Both right-handers threw perfect innings in the Dodgers' 14-8 loss to the Royals, with Jansen saying it was fun ending his "vacation" and Fields endorsing management's plan to keep him fresh for the long haul.

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GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Dodgers' bullpen lost Brandon Morrow in the offseason and potential replacement Tom Koehler this spring, but Kenley Jansen and Josh Fields provided a little reassurance in their first Cactus League outings on Thursday.

Both right-handers threw perfect innings in the Dodgers' 14-8 loss to the Royals, with Jansen saying it was fun ending his "vacation" and Fields endorsing management's plan to keep him fresh for the long haul.

View Full Game Coverage

Because of last year's heavy workload and short offseason for recovery, Jansen and Fields were targeted by management for a "slow-play" spring, reverse-engineered to have them ready for the start of the season with a minimum of stress in Arizona.

:: Spring Training coverage presented by Camping World ::

For Jansen, it means he has spent as much time firing footballs in the clubhouse, flailing away at pingpong balls and, in preparation for Thursday's debut, chipping golf balls off the clubhouse carpet.

"I had a great time on vacation, now I'm back," joked Jansen. "You just have to trust the process. I've thrown games on the back field, and I like that personally. No reason to throw a lot of innings early, try to throw hard and it's not coming out [right], and the next thing you know, something goes wrong."

Jansen enjoyed a lunch of ice cream that he playfully called the 'Bellinger Diet'

Jansen said he will pitch again on Saturday, next Thursday, then back-to-back outings in the Freeway Series against the Angels from March 25-27.

"I think this is good," he said of the light schedule. "It might get better for other people who throw a lot during the season. Stick with the process. Stick with Brandon [McDaniel, the Dodgers' strength coach] in the weight room."

Fields agrees with Jansen's assessment that less can be more when it comes to preparing for the season.

Video: KC@LAD: Fields works a perfect 4th in spring debut

"The slow-play is definitely helping us be ready," said Fields. "Without that month we miss [October], the body needs time to recover. Playoff runs take their toll. I think it's really smart what they're doing with us. Knowing that even though we have to be ready at a certain time, but being able to take our time doing it, helps relax the mind while doing it.

"I think it's pretty slick. They aren't worried about us. You want to be ready for April, but April is not as big of a deal as October. That's what they're thinking about, and that's a cool thing separating us from other organizations."

Video: KC@LAD: Jansen discusses his scoreless frame in debut

Both pitchers were sharp in their debuts.

"Thank the good Lord," said Fields. "I had thoughts of what it was going to look like, even before today's game. When you get in game situations, it plays out differently sometimes. But last spring I made some adjustments with [former bullpen coach] Josh Bard and [pitching coach] Rick Honeycutt, and it freed up my delivery."

"The thing that was really surprising with Kenley was his velocity," said manager Dave Roberts. "He touched 94 [mph], executed the fastball and was working on sliders. Very good for Kenley."

Ken Gurnick has covered the Dodgers for MLB.com since 2001.

Los Angeles Dodgers, Josh Fields, Kenley Jansen