SAN DIEGO — Kenley Jansen has saved a career-high 27 games this season and is tied with Cincinnati’s Aroldis Chapman for the strikeout lead among National League relievers with 107 in 72 appearances.
Just imagine how good the right-hander would be if he were pitching with his good 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 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 Dodgers pitcher who throws with the “wrong” hand. Starting pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu is right-handed everywhere but on the mound. Ryu said that when he started playing baseball at age 10 his father brought him a right-handed fielder’s glove on purpose so he would have to throw with his left.
“They’re like mirror images of each other,” Martin Kim, Ryu’s interpreter, said of Ryu and Jansen.
Andre Ethier, out nine days because of a sprained left ankle, pinch-hit in the ninth inning Sunday and struck out on three pitches. He appeared to favor the ankle after the second strike but declined to talk about it after the game. He could be back in the starting lineup Tuesday in San Francisco. . . . Chris Capuano, who hasn’t pitched since straining a groin muscle more than two weeks ago, said he is feeling much better since getting an injection of platelet-rich plasma last week. The left-hander, in a race to get fit in time for the playoffs, expects to throw a bullpen session Tuesday.