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Jansen doesn't skip a beat in return from DL

Dodgers closer strikes out four in eighth inning
MLB.com

LOS ANGELES -- Kenley Jansen said he's ready to close games for the Dodgers, and it seems hard argue with that assessment.

Jansen wasted no time making an impact in his first game back from the disabled list Friday, striking out all four batters he faced on 14 pitches in the eighth inning of the Dodgers' 6-4 win over the Rockies.

Full Game Coverage

LOS ANGELES -- Kenley Jansen said he's ready to close games for the Dodgers, and it seems hard argue with that assessment.

Jansen wasted no time making an impact in his first game back from the disabled list Friday, striking out all four batters he faced on 14 pitches in the eighth inning of the Dodgers' 6-4 win over the Rockies.

Full Game Coverage

"It was an amazing inning," said Jansen, who was activated from the 15-day DL before the game. "That won't happen that often."

Jansen needed the additional punchout because Rockies slugger Carlos Gonzalez reached on a passed ball after a striking out swinging to open the inning. Jansen was overpowering as he then went on to fan Nick Hundley, Drew Stubbs and DJ LeMahieu to complete his first inning in the Majors since October.

"It felt great to come back and get that one over with and feel relief," Jansen said.

Before the game, manager Don Mattingly said he wanted to ease Jansen back into the closer's role after such a long layoff. But Mattingly might have seen all he needed.

"He looked pretty comfortable to me," the manager said postgame.

Clayton Kershaw was also impressed.

"Kenley obviously didn't skip a beat," said Kershaw, who started the game and earned his 100th career victory. "Maybe he's gotten better, I don't know. Striking out four guys on 14 pitches is really, really impressive."

Jansen's return comes at a time when the Dodgers need help in the back-end of their bullpen. Rookie Yimi Garcia blew a save in Thursday night's 5-4 loss to the Rockies. On Wednesday, Adam Liberatore and Chris Hatcher could not hold a lead against the Marlins.

Last season, Jansen finished third in the National League with a career-high 44 saves.

"It's just nice to have one of the top closers in baseball back healthy and getting his season started," Mattingly said.

Still, Mattingly said he was pleased with the bullpen's overall performance in Jansen's absence.

"Feel pretty good about it, coming out of Spring Training, not knowing what we were going to do late innings for sure and how we were going to match it up," the manager said. "To be in this position and to have [Jansen] back really feels pretty good."

Mattingly said he plans to use a mix of relievers to get the ball to Jansen once he returns to the closer's role.

Jansen opened the season on the DL after undergoing surgery to remove a growth from a bone in his left foot in February. He pitched in six rehab games with Class A Advanced Rancho Cucamonga.

In other injury news, right-hander Brandon Beachy is scheduled to pitch live batting practice either Saturday or Sunday, Mattingly said. Beachy is recovering from Tommy John surgery.

Austin Laymance is a reporter for MLB.com.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Los Angeles Dodgers, Kenley Jansen