WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 20: Matt Kemp #27 of the Los Angeles Dodgers reacts after striking out for the third out of the first inning against the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park on September 20, 2012 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

Dodgers Vs. Nationals: L.A. Dodgers Lose 4-1, Drop Series To Nationals

The Dodgers dropped to three games back in the NL Wild Card race with their 4-1 loss to the Nationals on Thursday.

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Kenley Jansen cleared to pitch Tuesday for Dodgers

The Los Angeles Dodgers are awaiting word on the status of their best starting pitcher after Clayton Kershaw met with a hip specialist in New York on Tuesday, but they got good news on their best reliever. Kenley Jansen has been cleared to pitch as the Dodgers open a three-game series against the Washington Nationals.

Jansen was hospitalized in Denver on Aug. 27 with an irregular heartbeat, a recurrence of a condition that sidelined him for four weeks last season. Jansen was shut down after getting put on blood thinners, but was able to throw his bullpen sessions and continue to workout with the team. He just couldn't risk pitching in a game while on blood thinners, for fear of getting hit by a ball causing internal bleeding.

After meeting with doctors last week, Jansen was taken off blood thinners on Friday, and given the weekend to make sure the medication was out of his system. While sidelined, Jansen was anxious to return.

"It's hard, it's frustrating. I don't want to think about it anymore. But you have to take care of your health first, and that's what I did," Jansen said last Friday. "I just have to get my mind back into that focus, and get ready for Tuesday."

Jansen is 5-3 with a 2.54 ERA and 25 saves this season, with 86 strikeouts and 19 walks in 56 2/3 innings.

Manager Don Mattingly said Jansen would be his closer, though he would prefer to bring him into a game in a non-save situation first, just to get him used to pitching again.

For more news on the Dodgers, be sure to read True Blue LA.

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