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Friday, August 31, 2012
Word coming soon on Kenley Jansen

By Mark Saxon

LOS ANGELES -- The Los Angeles Dodgers will know Tuesday whether closer Kenley Jansen will be back in a week or lost for the season.

Jansen was hospitalized in Denver earlier this week after a recurrence of an irregular heartbeat caused by a condition known as atrial fibrillation. Cardiologists will decide Tuesday whether Jansen can come off the blood-thinning medication he currently is taking -- in which case he could return to pitching as quickly as next weekend -- or whether he will need to remain on it and be shut it down for the remainder of this season.

“They don’t play around with that stuff,” Jansen said. “Whatever decision they make, I’ve got to take it and, hopefully, my health will get better.”

Jansen had yet to take the field Tuesday in Colorado when he began experiencing a fast, irregular heartbeat. When he was first diagnosed with the condition last season, he says he cut down on fatty foods and on his consumption of caffeine, sugar and alcohol.

Atrial fibrillation is the most common form of cardiac arrhythmia. If treated properly, often with medication, patients with it can live normal lives with a typical life expectancy. Jansen said doctors have discussed the possibility of performing a procedure known as an ablation, in which the heart tissue that produces the irregular beat is destroyed arthroscopically.

If Jansen (2.54 ERA, 25 saves) pitches again this year, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said he would resume his closer duties right away. In the interim, the Dodgers are going with Brandon League and Ronald Belisario for the ninth inning.

“At that point, for me, yeah, Kenley won’t go anywhere,” Mattingly said.

Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp, who missed three games after a collision with the outfield wall in Colorado, returned to the lineup Friday.

Chris Young CF
Aaron Hill 2B
Jason Kubel LF
Paul Goldschmidt 1B
Justin Upton RF
Miguel Montero C
Chris Johnson 3B
Jake Elmore SS
Trevor Cahill P

Mark Ellis 2B
Shane Victorino LF
Adrian Gonzalez 1B
Matt Kemp CF
Hanley Ramirez SS
Andre Ethier RF
Luis Cruz 3B
A.J. Ellis C
Aaron Harang