Red Sox’s Kenley Jansen complains about slick baseballs: ‘It’s embarrassing’

Boston Red Sox relief pitcher Kenley Jansen has been in the majors long enough to see a few iterations of change throughout the sport, including the grips of the baseballs he throws.

Jansen on Sunday teed off on the slick baseballs following the team’s 5-4 win against the Los Angeles Angels in the series finale. He allowed one run on one hit and struck out two batters. He threw 14 of his 25 pitches for strikes.

Kenley Jansen vs Orioles

Kenley Jansen, #74 of the Boston Red Sox, reacts during the ninth inning of a game against the Baltimore Orioles on April 11, 2024 at Fenway Park in Boston. (Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

“I got to get better, but also if you’re playing in the cold weather, windy, and you get pearls balls out there that’s not rubbed well, I don’t know where the ball’s going,” he said.

Jansen picked up his 424th save of his career. He said he takes the time to find a good ball to use and will throw anything back he deems unacceptable.

He went as far to say that the baseballs used in the bullpen sessions were better than the ones on the field.


Kenley Jansen and Connor Wong

Connor Wong, #12 of the Boston Red Sox, and Kenley Jansen, #74 of the Boston Red Sox, walk off the field after a win against the Los Angeles Angels on April 14, 2024 at Fenway Park in Boston. (Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)

“It’s embarrassing. It’s been a while I’ve been playing in this league and, from the beginning of my career until now, it’s getting worse,” Jansen said.

“It’s been an issue the whole year,” he said. “I’ve been talking to a lot of my teammates and they feel the same way. First pitch, get out of my hand, I don’t know where it’s going. Second pitch, the same thing. Then, I tried to throw a ball down the middle, just keep going down. It’s tough trying to make an adjustment and also you have the clock ticking.”

Jansen is a four-time All-Star and won a World Series in 2020 with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Kenley Jansen vs Angels

Boston Red Sox’s Kenley Jansen reacts after striking out Los Angeles Angels’ Mike Trout to end a baseball game on Sunday, April 14, 2024 in Boston. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

He is in his second season with the Red Sox. He appeared in 51 games in 2023 and recorded a 3.63 ERA.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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