Braves Superstar Sidelined Indefinitely With Heart Ailment
Braves closer Kenley Janson has been sidelined with an irregular heartbeat, and he has battled heart issues for years
Todd Kirkland/Getty Images

Atlanta Braves star closer Kenley Janson has been put on the injured list with an irregular heartbeat, the team announced Tuesday.

Janson, who has battled heart problems throughout his career, is 4-0 with 20 saves this season. There was no timeline for how long he might be out, but he would likely have to pass a battery of tests before being cleared to pitch again. He has previously spoken out about his heart problems.

“I’ve learned a lot about the heart,” Janson recently said at an event to promote heart health and awareness. “I just have to be on top of my game and make sure my blood pressure stays low, because if my blood pressure gets really high or spikes that could cause another episode.”

Jansen had a corrective heart surgery in 2018 after a recurrence of an irregular heartbeat. In 2012, he underwent a cardiac ablation, with abnormal tissue in the left atrium of his heart being cauterized to stop generation of abnormal electrical signals.

The defending World Series champion Braves signed the longtime Los Angeles Dodger to a $16 million deal in the offseason. Janson, 34, has 370 career saves to go with a stellar 2.43 earned run average. The three-time all-star led the National League in saves in 2017, when he finished fifth in the voting for the Cy Young award, a rarity for a relief pitcher.

On Sunday night, Janson surrendered two runs to his former team in the ninth inning to blow a 2-0 lead in what turned out to be an 11-inning, 5-3 loss for the Braves.

The Braves are likely to turn to left-handed former closer Will Smith or A.J. Minter to finish out victories in Janson’s absence.

“Neither has the track record of Jansen and this will diminish the Braves’ ability to match up late in games if one lefty has to close and the other is required to set up,” wrote NBC Sports baseball writer Corey Siedman.

In addition, the team announced it was calling up Jesús Cruz from its Triple A team to take Janson’s roster spot.

The Braves recalled RHP Jesús Cruz to Atlanta and placed RHP Kenley Jansen on the 15-day injured list with an irregular heartbeat, backdated to June 27,” the team announced on its Twitter page.

The Braves are in second place in the National League’s East Division, with a 42-32 record.

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