Boston Red Sox relief pitcher Kenley Jansen raises his arms as he walks off the mound Wednesday night, right after striking out atlanta braves catcher Travis D'Arnaud to end the game. It didn't sound like a celebration, but Janssen had done something that only six other pitchers in MLB history had done: Record his 400th career save.
Janssen, 35 and in his third team in three years, was overjoyed by his achievement, calling it “A moment I'll never forget.” After the game he was gifted a bass guitar and the team showed him a celebratory video featuring several of his past teammates from the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Hitting this milestone while pitching against the Braves was meaningful to Janssen. He grew up cheering for Atlanta and their talented centerfielder, fellow Curacao native Andrew Jones.
Nothing could have been better against the team I grew up watching, loving and I did it today here at their stadium. Jansen said via ESPN.
Johnson has faced a major health problem over the years. A trip to Denver in 2018 triggered his atrial fibrillation (irregular heartbeat), which he had surgery to correct in 2012. He struggled with the medications he took for the rest of the season, and suffered a heart attack five and a half hours later. process during the off-season. He showed up to spring training 25 pounds lighter, and has flared up only once since.
Now, not only has Jansen made 400 saves (he's just 22 away from tying Billy Wagner for sixth), he's pitching like a pitcher reborn. During the final at-bat of the game against D'Arnaud, Janssen hit the radar gun at 98.7 mph, Fastest pitch thrown by him since August 27, 2016.
Johnson appeared on Thursday's episode of the “Baseball Is Boring” podcast and told the hosts that he believes he is better than ever. For getting there, she credits her improved outlook and her decision to get serious about her mental health.