Kenley Jansen, Brusdar Graterol Progressing Slowly in Early Stages of Spring Training

(AP Photo/Eric Gay)

While there was an overwhelming amount of emphasis put on the bullpen of the Los Angeles Dodgers for much of the winter, there has not been much chatter about the relief crew so far during 2021 Cactus League play.

One of the most intriguing things to watch during spring training is the progression of some players compared to others. Some of them seem to be locked into every facet of their games, while others appear to be slightly off with their respective timing, mechanics, or overall sync.

However, this is the intended purpose of the Cactus League schedule. Besides providing an auditioning stage of sorts for spots on the big-league roster, it’s primary purpose is to prepare the players for the regular season, providing them with a chance to work out the kinks and zero-in their focus.

Several early reports coming out of camp surround potentially two of the Dodgers’ most important relievers in 2021.
According to Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times, both Kenley Jansen and Brusdar Graterol are experiencing slight setbacks.

The issue with Jansen is apparently mechanics related.

On Monday, Kenley looked very sharp against the Rockies in his spring debut. He was perfect in one full inning of work, striking out two Colorado batters on just nine pitches. But things have gotten a bit dicey since.

In a live batting practice session Thursday, Jansen hit teammate Zach Reks on the elbow with a cutter, emphasizing what has been a rocky few days for the veteran with regards to command. On Friday, he did some “dry throwing” off the mound in hopes of correcting some of the control issues.

Skipper Dave Roberts, who has already named Jansen as the team’s primary closer to start the season, believes the issue is just minor in nature.

“I think he was just a little bit out of sync,” Roberts said. “Obviously with Kenley, a big-bodied guy, it kind of happens.”

Roberts hinted that Jansen could appear in a game again as early as Sunday or Monday.


Graterol has yet to throw in a Cactus League contest this spring.

As stated by Juan Toribio of, “Graterol dealt with things over the offseason that limited him more than he and the team would’ve liked. The current plan is to get Graterol to throw off the mound in the next couple of days. It’s still unclear when he’ll appear in a game.”

Despite the delays, Roberts remains optimistic for his 265-lb. right hander.

“He’s coming along really well,” Roberts said of Graterol. “There were some things this winter that didn’t allow for him to get off the mound and throw as consistently as he would’ve liked coming into camp. We just want to make sure he stays healthy, so the ramp-up has been a little different for him.”

According to Toribio, Roberts explained that what limited Graterol over the offseason wasn’t surgery or anything of that sort. Roberts said that “it’s just more kind of stuff of what’s going on in our world.”

In the shortened 2020 regular season, Jansen was tied for first with Blake Treinen for most relief appearances on the team with 27.

Graterol finished third with 23 appearances out of the bullpen, just two behind righty Dylan Floro, who was traded to the Marlins in February.

25 thoughts on “Kenley Jansen, Brusdar Graterol Progressing Slowly in Early Stages of Spring Training

      1. Sounds like Mr. Morrow will not be on the opening day roster. Still lots of competition for those spots though.

      2. I think Blake Treinen is gonna end up being the workhorse of the group again. I kind of think Friedman had that idea even before he signed him. Hopefully Treinen’s able to stay healthy.

      3. Good, compared to his first appearance. Sometimes it’s really tough to tell what’s happening with those guys. Hell, Bauer was out there throwing with one eye closed today. 🙁

      4. I betcha Bauer would have hated playing for an old-schooler like Tommy Lasorda. No way Tommy would have said anything about Bauer publicly, but I can only imagine the conversation in the locker room.

      5. Tommy would have literally shot him before the All Star break. No way they could have existed together.

  1. Ruiz is in Arizona. He is going through the quarantine process and Covid measures. According to Roberts he is in great shape and should be in some games soon.

    1. Kaybear should ask to take some reps at first base. That would improve his chances of getting playing time, whether that be here or for some other organization.

      He could turn into another Carlos Santana, catcher/first baseman, switch hitter, who also started with the Dodgers and was given up in a trade that turned out better for the other team. Hope we don’t repeat that mistake.

      1. Dodgers got 2 1/2 decent seasons from Blake, and Santana was no defensive wiz. He made a lot of errors at 1st and Catcher. He did have a pretty good bat, but he did not make it as a full time player until 2011. Blake’s last season in LA> He would have hit better than any of LA’s 5 catchers they used that year, but defensively he was no where near as good as they were, and the 1st baseman was James Loney. No DH, so he most likely would not have beaten any of those guys out of a job. They traded for need. Right now the need is minimal.

      2. It certainly wasn’t the most one sided trade of all time. Blake did give us some value, but Santana has averaged almost 3 bWAR per season over the last 10 years, which ain’t chopped liver.

        I still think it would be a good idea for Ruiz to get some reps in at first base. It would also make him more valuable in trade if we decide to let him go and since the Indians don’t have Santana any longer, they’re ready for us to trade them his replacement, although I don’t know what they have that we would need. We certainly don’t need an aging third baseman. Already have one of those. Speaking of aging, did you see that play that JT made yesterday? It would have done Arenado proud.

      3. I think anything that improves his value to the team is a good thing. Yeah, I watched the whole game, which is why I was not as upset by Alexander’s losing the game as most. He was beat on a flair that just got past the 3rd baseman. Ramirez and Reyes were sent to alternate site yesterday for violating MLB’s Covid protocols. I do not think the Indians have anyone who would interest LA> Peters is working out at 1st base also.

  2. I think Santana is the prototypical AL type player. Not a great defensive wiz, but can be played where he does the least damage, and also used as a pinch hitter. No DH in the NL this time around.

    1. I’m assuming that by this time next year (if there is a season next year) he will be the prototypical MLB player since I can’t imagine a new CBA without a universal DH.

      1. Probably, but he will also be 36 by the time it starts, and he only hit .199 last season. I prefer someone with a little more upside. And I think the Dodgers used the DH to great advantage last season using multiple players in the role.

      2. Sorry, didn’t make myself clear. I wasn’t saying we should sign Santana, just that he won’t only be the prototypical AL player any longer because I expect both leagues to have the DH. Therefore, he’ll be the prototypical MLB DH-type player. I’ve always liked Santana but even I’ll admit it’s past the time to bring him back. With all our possibilities I agree that moving people in and out of that role is a good idea.

  3. Buehler got ripped today. But he was pitching out of a stretch the entire outing. Jansen getting ready to make an appearance.

      1. Nope, but he hung more than a few right in the middle of the plate, 2 went for Homers.

      2. Now that i think about it, maybe that’s why Kenley hit Reks on the elbow with a cutter the other day. Because he was using one eye. Huge trend among the Los Angeles pitching staff right now.

      3. Kenley hit Reks because he heard that Reks was thinking of converting to relief pitching. I assume he hit him on his pitching arm elbow?

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