WASHINGTON -- Before severe rain and wind forced the postponement of Tuesday's series opener with the Nationals, Kenley Jansen was set to return to the Dodgers' bullpen.
With a doubleheader on Wednesday at Nationals Park, the Dodgers' closer was available for his first action since Aug. 27, when the 24-year-old right-hander experienced an irregular heartbeat during a game in Colorado. Because it was the second such instance for Jansen over the past two years, doctors have decided on offseason surgery to correct the issue.
"I'm just excited," Jansen said of his return. "It's a pennant race going on right now, so that brings the excitement. I just want to get out there and have fun again."
Although Jansen has 25 saves and a 2.54 ERA as the Dodgers' closer, manager Don Mattingly said on Wednesday that he would like to hold off on using Jansen in critical late-game situations.
"I'd like to be able to get him into a situation where it wasn't total game on the line," Mattingly said. "But it was hard not to use him in the way you really want to use him, because wherever you put him in, it's probably going to be game on the line.
"I'd like to be able to kind of softly bring him back into the fold, you know, but it's just not that time of year."
While Jansen was out, Brandon League notched two saves and Ronald Belisario recorded one. All together, the Dodgers' bullpen entered Wednesday ranked sixth in the NL with a 3.27 ERA.
Dodgers cautious as Kershaw resumes throwing
WASHINGTON -- One day after Clayton Kershaw's visit with a hip specialist yielded no new information, the Dodgers continued to not rule anything out regarding their young ace.
Dr. Bryan Kelly at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York examined Kershaw's ailing right hip on Tuesday and agreed with the previous diagnosis made by team physician Neal ElAttrache that the 24-year-old left-hander has an impingement of the right hip, meaning the joint is pinched during rotation of the hip while pitching.
On Wednesday, manager Don Mattingly confirmed that Kershaw has resumed his throwing program of playing catch off flat ground -- a small bit of progress considering Kershaw was unable to do so earlier in the week. But as for the possibility of Kershaw returning to pitch anytime soon, Mattingly wouldn't elaborate.
"I just think he needs to be able to start doing everything he usually does without any pain at all," Mattingly said. "It's up to him, really. He's the one who directs what he wants to release. He kind of dictates how he wants to let information out."
Kershaw is 12-9 with a 2.70 ERA and a National League-leading 206 strikeouts. His absence has already increased the pressure on the Dodgers' rotation, including newly acquired right-hander Josh Beckett, who was scheduled to start the second game of Wednesday's doubleheader. Right-hander Aaron Harang took the mound for the first game, while left-hander Chris Capuano closes out the three-game series with the Nationals on Thursday.
When the Dodgers travel to Cincinnati for another pivotal three-game set with the NL Central-leading Reds on Friday, they will be forced to find a replacement for Kershaw. Rookie right-hander Stephen Fife likely will get another outing after a strong start his last time out against the Cardinals on Sunday, but Mattingly has yet to decide how the fifth spot in the rotation will be occupied against the Reds.
"We're up in the air," Mattingly said. "Either somebody goes [on short rest], or [John] Ely, really, is the only guy."
Ely, a right-hander who was called up from Triple-A Albuquerque when rosters expanded on Sept. 1, has made only two appearances this season. He did, however, start 18 games for the Dodgers as a rookie in 2010 and one more in 2011.
Reliever Elbert undergoes surgery on left elbow
WASHINGTON -- Dodgers left-hander Scott Elbert underwent left elbow surgery on Wednesday, the team announced.
Elbert, 1-1 with a 2.20 ERA over 43 appearances, was placed on the disabled list with elbow soreness on Aug. 27. That came 10 days after the 27-year-old reliever came off a DL stint for a related elbow inflammation injury. Elbert pitched in a simulated game on Friday, but manager Don Mattingly said the issue was still present.
Team physician Neal ElAttrache performed the 30-minute arthroscopic surgery at Kerlan-Jobe Surgery Center in Los Angeles, and the team said the operation "went as planned with a clean out of scar tissue in the back of the elbow."
Elbert will rehab at the Dodgers' Spring Training complex in Arizona and start throwing in six to eight weeks.
As has been the case since Elbert's initial injury, the Dodgers have only two left-handers out of the bullpen in Randy Choate and Paco Rodriguez. Collectively, Los Angeles' bullpen ranks sixth in the National League with a 3.27 ERA.
With A.J. Ellis catching Game 1 of Wednesday's doubleheader against the Nationals, manager Don Mattingly said Matt Treanor will be the Dodgers' backstop for Game 2. Mattingly wouldn't discuss any other possible lineup changes for the doubleheader.
The doubleheader is the Dodgers' first since April 27, 2010, against the Mets at Citi Field. After a rainout at Nationals Park last season, the Dodgers and Nats had a doubleheader scheduled for Sept. 8, but the second game was rained out and never rescheduled.
Hanley Ramirez is batting .342 (144-for-421) against the Nationals in his career. His 27 homers against the Nats trail only four active players: Andruw Jones (47), Chipper Jones (41) and Ryan Howard (36).
Mike Fiammetta is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.