PHOENIX — The Dodgers played their 90th game of the season Wednesday, and Kenley Jansen still felt fresh.
This might not sound significant, but Jansen thinks it is. Around this time last year, he was gassed.
"I felt exhausted," Jansen said.
The Dodgers closer was told that an off-season heart operation, which would prevent the organ from beating irregularly, would improve his endurance. He didn't think it would help this much.
"I've been throwing more," he said.
Of the Dodgers' first 89 games, Jansen appeared in 43. He pitched in 41 of the team's first 89 games last year.
Jansen is also eating more carefully and working out more. The 6-foot-5 pitcher said he weighs about 255 pounds, down from 278 last year.
For The Record
Los Angeles Times Friday, July 12, 2013 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 4 News Desk 1 inches; 25 words Type of Material: Correction
Dodgers bobblehead: In the July 11 Sports section, a column said that the Dodgers were having Adrian Gonzalez bobblehead night Friday. The event was Thursday.
And as the season has progressed, Jansen has pitched better. In his last 17 appearances before Wednesday, Jansen posted a 1.29 earned-run average and had seven saves and seven holds.
Jansen replaced a slumping Brandon League as the Dodgers' closer last month. Jansen lost his place to League in September, when he was sidelined by the irregular heartbeat.
Jansen was always diplomatic when asked about his role as the team's setup man last year and early this season. But he now acknowledges he wants to pitch in the ninth inning.
"I love closing," Jansen said. "I want to be a closer. If I'm not, I'm not going to say anything and be a bad teammate. But now that I'm in a position to be the closer, I want to be one of the best closers."
Jansen broke into the major leagues in 2010 and still hasn't been part of a postseason team.
"I've been talking to Andre Ethier and all the guys about how it feels to be in the playoffs," Jansen said. "I want to experience the playoffs in L.A. I hope to experience it this year."
Utility man Skip Schumaker started serving a two-game suspension for his role in a violent brawl between the Dodgers and Diamondbacks last month. Schumaker, who said he didn't do anything to merit a punishment, appealed his suspension and had his case heard last week.
Beckett has surgery
Josh Beckett underwent an operation to remove the top rib on his right side, which should relieve pressure on a compressed nerve that was believed to be the source of the numbness in his pitching hand. The surgery was performed by Dr. Greg Pearl in Dallas.
Beckett will start a rehabilitation program and is expected to be ready to pitch in spring training.
Automobile and stadium gates at Dodger Stadium will open earlier than usual Friday, at 5:10 p.m., to accommodate the large crowd expected for Adrian Gonzalez's bobblehead night. Gonzalez's father, David, is scheduled to throw out the ceremonial first pitch. ... KCAL's broadcast of the Dodgers' game in Arizona on Tuesday night drew an average audience of 470,000. That made it the most-viewed regular-season Dodgers game on a Los Angeles broadcast or cable outlet since 2007. ... Carlos Marmol pitched an inning for Class-A Rancho Cucamonga. The reliever, who was recently acquired from the Chicago Cubs, gave up a run and two hits in an inning.