Jansen throws off mound for first time since foot surgery

Jansen throws off mound for first time since foot surgery

LOS ANGELES -- Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen took another step toward his return Saturday when he threw off the bullpen mound for the first time since February foot surgery.

Jansen threw 15 pitches and said his velocity went from 79 mph to 86 mph.

"Everything went well, I threw strikes and I feel great for the first time," he said. "They told me not to crank it up. So I was hitting that type of velocity holding off a little bit."

Jansen said his arm will be ready because he has been throwing since shortly after surgery to remove a benign grown on his left (landing) foot.

He said he didn't know when he would be ready for MLB action, but didn't argue with an estimate of the first half of May. He will need several bullpen sessions before he can face hitters, then a Minor League rehab assignment of several games before being activated.

He will also need to run enough to cover first base at full speed.

"Running comes at the end," he said. "But the spot is not bothering me at all."

• Manager Don Mattingly, who earlier said the Dodgers won't need a fifth starter again until April 25, said one might be slotted in sooner to provide extra rest for the other starters. The Triple-A rotation is pitching well as a whole, with Mike Bolsinger, Zach Lee and Scott Baker boasting the best stats.

• Left fielder Carl Crawford was out of Saturday night's lineup with a stomach ailment and was replaced by Andre Ethier.

Brandon League has begun playing catch, but said he won't know if rest has helped his shoulder until he is able to throw hard off a mound, which could be weeks away.

Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.