SAN DIEGO — Dodger closer Kenley Jansen has saved a career-high 26 games this season and ranks sixth among National League relievers with a 1.95 earned-run average in 72 appearances.
But imagine how good he could be if he was pitching with his dominant arm.
Jansen is a natural lefty. In fact, pitching is the only thing he does with his right hand. And he would still be throwing left-handed if not for his right-handed brothers.
“When I was a kid I used to use a right-handed glove and I’d just put it on the other hand,” says Jansen, who grew up in Curacao. “They almost started a fight with me. They said if I didn’t stop doing that they would be beat me up.”
So Jansen taught himself to throw right-handed. He says he can still throw with his left arm but not with the mid-90s power he has right-handed.
And he’s not the only Dodger pitcher who throws with the “wrong” hand. Starting pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu is right-handed everywhere but on the mound, where he throws left-handed.
“They’re like mirror images of each other,” Martin Kim, Ryu’s interpreter, said of Ryu and Jansen.