Hours after reiterating that Javy Guerra was his closer despite rough outings recently, Dodgers Manager Don Mattingly used Kenley Jansen to finish Sunday’s win over the Washington Nationals.
But that was because Guerra had pitched Saturday night and Jansen was “the freshest arm,” Mattingly said.
The hard-throwing Jansen walked leadoff batter Adam LaRoche in the ninth inning and fell behind the next batter.
Soon Guerra was warming up in the bullpen, although to Mattingly that was not a contradiction, saying that if Jansen were “to walk the house” he needed Guerra ready. Jansen did walk one other batter but struck out the side.
Before the game, Mattingly said he met with Guerra, 26, who started his second big league season with five consecutive saves but has struggled lately.
“My biggest concern,” Mattingly said, was that Guerra had “no swag” in his most recent appearance Saturday night. “It’s never his stuff. It was like the lack of the bounce in the step and the confidence and commitment.”
Guerra said the meeting helped.
“I need to get back out there and be the same guy I was before, and maybe be a little more cocky, a little more arrogant, get that swag back in me,” he said, adding that his being hit by a line drive on the cheek Wednesday was not a factor.
“We’re winning games, that’s really what matters,” Guerra said.
Feeling his pain
One winced when Jerry Hairston Jr. was struck on the left hand with a 97-mph fastball from Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg on Saturday.
But what exactly did it feel like?
“It’s hard to describe until you’ve experienced it,” Hairston said, although when it was suggested getting your hand caught in a car door might come close, he said “that would be, I guess, one of the best ways to describe it.”
There’s the initial excruciating pain and “then you immediately start worrying, if you’re talking about your hand and wrist, is it broken because of all the small bones that are in there?” Hairston said.
That’s the same concern head trainer Sue Falsone had when she ran out to Hairston. Her first questions were, “Can you move your wrist? Can you move your hands, your fingers?” Hairston said. “If they’re functioning pretty well, then there’s a good chance it’s not broken,” he said.
Actually, the ball hit the meaty part of Hairston’s hand and X-rays showed no breaks. At the time, though, he had to become a runner at first base and “put [the pain] out of your head.”
He later scored, using the injured hand to knock the ball out of catcher Wilson Ramos’ glove.
“I was trying to get to the plate, it just so happened his glove was there,” Hairston said.
Nathan Eovaldi sent down
Pitcher Nathan Eovaldi was sent back to double-A Chattanooga because reliever Todd Coffey is expected to come off the disabled list.