Dodgers, Jansen embracing broad interpretation of closer role

first_imgLOS ANGELES >> The ink has dried on the five-year, $80 million contract Kenley Jansen signed with the Dodgers last December after flirting — and nearly going home — with the Washington Nationals and Miami Marlins.But a deal like that can change a player.“Guys go one of two ways,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “They can sit back and say, ‘I got it.’ … He is actually pushing himself to show – not to put pressure on himself or justify it – but to do right by the organization, his teammates and this city.”Security can make a player comfortable, make him shrink from new challenges. Had Jansen adopted this attitude, he might decide he had been signed to pitch the ninth inning and only the ninth inning and only in save situations. The roots of this new job description lie in last fall’s postseason run. Five of Jansen’s seven playoff appearances lasted more than an inning including a 51-pitch, 21/3-inning stretch in the Dodgers’ NLDS-clinching Game 5 victory – an effort that left a spent Jansen conducting post-game interviews while sitting on the floor of the hallway outside the Dodgers’ clubhouse – and three scoreless innings in the NLCS finale.Those performances “unlocked” something in Jansen, Roberts said.“We had many conversations about being unselfish and doing whatever it takes to win,” Roberts said. “The care, the will, the desire to win were there. But until any player actually does something, you don’t really know the potential you do have. For him to actually go through that and have success, it kind of validated all of his intentions.”That experience “took me to the next level” in terms of confidence and recognizing what mattered to him, Jansen said; so much so he’s able to laugh when teased about his relatively low save total (10) this season. Last week in St. Louis, he returned to his locker to find an assortment of snacks waiting for him with a letter of apology from the Dodgers’ offense (clubhouse leader Justin Turner is the likely ghost writer) after a late rally had taken away a save opportunity.“I’m mature. Let me put it that way,” Jansen said with a large smile. “I’ve matured enough to know it’s about the team. It’s not about my individuals.”Closers are not solely evaluated by their save totals anymore, Jansen knows. “It’s about strikeouts and walks. It’s about WAR and WHIP. When you’re doing good in that stuff, you’re doing your job.”By those measures, Jansen is doing his job very well indeed. His WHIP (0.66) is even lower than last season (0.67), when it was the lowest in the majors. He has struck out nearly half of the batters he has faced (41 of 90) and hasn’t walked any of them, breaking Adam Wainwright’s record (35) for the most strikeouts without a walk to start a season.“I think it’s just the same reason Mariano Rivera was able to pitch in the big leagues for, what, 50 years?” Dodgers catcher Yasmani Grandal said when asked to explain Jansen’s success.The comparison between Jansen’s cutter and the one that will carry Rivera into the Hall of Fame is frequent and flattering. Like Rivera, Jansen throws the pitch 90 percent of the time and hitters have yet to figure out a way to make consistent contact.For that, Jansen thanks the natural movement that comes with his throwing motion. For his ability to maintain consistent mechanics with it despite his size (6-foot-5, 275 pounds) and a stride that is one of the longest in baseball (only Chapman’s is longer) – factors that could complicate things – Jansen thanks … Charlie Hough?“I owe Charlie Hough a big thank you. He kept it simple with me from Day One. That’s why I have a simple delivery, simple mechanics,” Jansen said, referring to the one-time knuckleballer who was a pitching coach in the Dodgers’ minor-league system when Jansen was converted from catcher to pitcher.“He said, ‘You’re a hard thrower. You’re not a pitcher. Just throw.’”When it is pointed out that some players might have taken that as an insult, a broad smile spreads across Jansen’s face.“Let’s just say I’ve learned some things over the years,” he said.Up NextREDS at DODGERSWhen: 7:10 p.m.Where: Dodger StadiumTV: SportsNet LA (where available)THE PITCHERSDODGERS LHP RICH HILL (2-2, 4.15 ERA)Vs. Reds: 3-2, 4.05 ERAAt Dodger Stadium: 3-3, 2.31 ERAREDS LHP AMIR GARRETT (3-4, 7.17 ERA)Vs. Dodgers: Has never faced them beforeUPCOMINGSaturday — Reds (RHP Asher Wojciechowski, 1-0, 4.50 ERA) at Dodgers (LHP Alex Wood, 6-0, 1.69 ERA), 7:10 p.m., SportsNet LA, MLB Network (out of market only)Sunday — Reds (RHP Tim Adleman, 4-2, 4.42 ERA) at Dodgers (LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu, 2-6, 4.08 ERA), 1:10 p.m., SportsNet LA “I don’t want to be that kind of closer. I don’t want to be compared in that class,” Jansen said. “I’m not trying to be a hero here but any time the team needs me, I’m ready.“Sometimes the situation for the best pitcher to come in is not always the ninth inning. It’s not always like that.”Roberts calls Jansen “the best reliever in the game” – not just the best closer. He might also be among its most open-minded.Nine times this season, Roberts has brought Jansen into the game in an inning other than the ninth – six times in the eighth, three times in extra innings. Six times Jansen has pitched more than one inning.Of the major league’s top 10 in saves, only Tampa Bay’s Alex Colome (primarily a starter until two years ago) can match that. The major league’s saves leader, Colorado’s Greg Holland, has not recorded more than three outs in any of his 23 appearances. Neither of Jansen’s two peers on last winter’s free agent market – Aroldis Chapman, who signed a record deal for a closer with the New York Yankees, and Mark Melancon, who signed with the San Francisco Giants – has pitched before the ninth inning this season or recorded more than three outs in an appearance. Both have also been on the DL.center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more

Ravens deal kicker Kaare Vedvik to Vikings for draft pick

first_img Steelers announce death of wide receivers coach Darryl Drake The move is pending a physical.We have traded kicker Kaare Vedvik to the Minnesota Vikings for an undisclosed draft pick, pending the passing of a physical. pic.twitter.com/JhfkeEyvLp— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) August 11, 2019According to ESPN, which cited unidentified league sources, the Vikings sent a 2020 fifth-round pick to Baltimore. Related News Kaare Vedvik is headed to Minnesota.The Ravens announced Sunday they have traded the Norwegian kicker to the Vikings for a draft pick. Jets kicker Chandler Catanzaro retires at 28 It’s not often a team trades a fifth-round pick for a kicker, as the Vikings are doing today for former Ravens’ kicker Kaare Vedvik. Here’s a look back at other trades for kickers: pic.twitter.com/rGgejNmopQ— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) August 11, 2019Before it became official, Vikings coach Mike Zimmer declined to discuss the trade during his press conference after Sunday’s practice.”If we indeed made a trade, it’s to try and get better guys,” Zimmer said, per the Star Tribune.Vedvik, 25, signed with Baltimore as an undrafted free agent out of Marshall in 2018 but sat out all last season after an attack in Baltimore left him with injuries to his face and head. He has shown promise this preseason as he hit four field goals against the Jaguars on Thursday, including a 55-yarder.Meanwhile, Vikings kicker Dan Bailey, who signed a one-year deal with Minnesota in March, made four extra-point attempts in New Orleans on Friday.”Honestly, I really like Dan Bailey,” Zimmer added. “He’s a very professional, mature kid. We’ve been having some issues with the snap, hold and kick kind of thing. Having two long snappers, I think that’s adding to it a little bit. We’re working on holding quite a bit.” Panthers’ Eric Reid says he was drug tested twice during training camplast_img read more

Solís administration proposes bill to cancel tax debts for some tourism businesses

first_imgPresident Luis Guillermo Solís on Tuesday evening sent the Legislative Assembly a bill proposing the cancellation of a backlog of sales taxes, interest and fines for tourism businesses as stipulated by a new provision of the country’s Sales Tax Law that took effect Aug. 1.In August, the Finance Ministry ordered tourism businesses to collect sales tax on tourism activities that were previously exempt based on an interpretation of the Sales Tax Law from 1982. The new regulation resulted in a decree requiring all recreational activities including rafting, diving, surfing, ziplining, hiking and others to be taxed retroactively up to four years.Tourism businesses have since been urging Solís to block the decree, arguing that collecting retroactive taxes would lead to business closures, layoffs, a loss of competitiveness and a decrease in investment.“We fully understand the importance of tourism for our economy. This initiative we are sending today to lawmakers demonstrates the government’s understanding of the needs of the tourism industry and their will to keep providing benefits and profits to Costa Rica,” Solís stated in a press release.Vice President Ana Helena Chacón said one of the reasons the decision to cancel the debts was made was because “there was never a warning issued to the tourism sector that they would be charged [sales] tax on recreational activities that were previously exempt.”Chacón added that Costa Rica “would be charging taxes and interest to business owners who were hurt by a drop in tourism visits in 2008-2009 caused by the international financial crisis.”The bill states that companies that paid taxes after the decree’s approval would be unable to receive refunds because those taxes were paid by customers.On Wednesday, the National Liberation Party’s top lawmaker, Rolando González, said he agreed with the decision to support the tourism sector, “one of the country’s hardest-hit sectors by the financial crisis,” but his party would not accept a bill that fails to calculate how much the move would cost the government in lost tax revenue.González’s comment referred to a statement by Vice President Chacón on Tuesday that the government is unaware of the actual revenue the Tax Administration would lose, or the number of businesses that would benefit if the bill is approved.Chacón said the administration likely would conduct that study in coming weeks. Facebook Comments Related posts:Tourism entrepreneurs urge President Solís to block retroactive sales tax Solís blocks added sales tax on national park entrance fees, a decree passed days before he took office Tourism chambers outraged over latest Tax Administration order for businesses to collect sales tax on tourism activities Tourism chamber leaders vow to escalate fight against added sales taxlast_img read more