ST. LOUIS -- With Jonathan Broxton out since May and eligible for free agency, the Dodgers are feeling better about their closer situation for next year with Javy Guerra and Kenley Jansen.
Guerra passed another test Monday night, rebounding from his first blown save to lock down his 11th save.
"To me, everything says he can [be the closer next year]," manager Don Mattingly said. "Start with the stuff, 95 [mph fastball] and a 91 [mph] cutter. A curveball he throws for strikes, and he doesn't seem to get rattled. With Kenley and Javy, we have two legitimate late-inning guys.
"There is something about the ninth inning, I've seen it over the years. You can't really explain it. But there's something different about that inning. He makes it kind of simple. He's got good stuff and he's not afraid."
Jansen was scheduled to finish up a Minor League rehab assignment Tuesday night for Class A Rancho Cucamonga. The right-hander is on track to be activated Friday night after recovering from an irregular heartbeat.
Eovaldi latest homegrown arm having success
ST. LOUIS -- So how did Nathan Eovaldi go from Class A last year to containing Albert Pujols on Monday night?
The rapid ascent of the Dodgers' 21-year-old right-hander is another of the success stories from Double-A Chattanooga, where pitching coach Chuck Crim is developing guru status after sending the Dodgers Javy Guerra, Rubby De La Rosa, Josh Lindblom and now Eovaldi, who allowed one run on five hits in a no-decision in the opener against the Cardinals.
"At the end of the spring of 2010, I got seven or eight of our prospects together and told them they had the chance to be big league pitchers, but they had to continue working for it," Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti said. "I challenged them. He and De La Rosa really came. His fastball command is what separates him from a lot of young pitchers. With most, that's the last to come. He's got great poise, composure, he's ultra competitive and has a great work ethic."
Eovaldi starts again Sunday, and if you want to see him pitch this year, don't wait. He's already thrown a career-high 125 innings in 2011 and will soon be shut down. Colletti said Eovaldi has no more than three starts remaining, maybe fewer.
The Dodgers, though, now believe Eovaldi can be one of their starters next year, quite a development for the Alvin, Tex., right-hander, who was taken by the Dodgers in the 11th round of the 2008 Draft because his Tommy John surgery in high school scared off other clubs. The Dodgers gave him $250,000 to sign instead of taking a scholarship at Texas A&M.
"I signed because, with my Tommy John experience, I wanted the experience of pitching professional baseball rather than go to college, where if it happened again, I wanted to be able to say I played pro ball," said Eovaldi. "I wasn't concerned with the bonus as long as they were going to pay for my schooling."
Eovaldi, who pitched only 10 innings at Rookie Level the year he signed, spent the 2009 season splitting time between starting and relieving at Class A Great Lakes before regressing last year at Class A Inland Empire, where he was hampered by a strained oblique muscle.
He decided his pitch repertoire needed a tweak, so he shelved his curveball in the instructional league and learned the proper way to throw a slider, which put him on the fast track to the Dodgers' rotation.
"Now I throw that from the top and I have a good feeling for it," he said. "It's made all the difference this year. I'm a power pitcher and the slider is more of a power pitch. Hitters could see the curveball coming and adjust. I have a lot more confidence with the slider, but I've also brought the curveball back."
Jansen tosses hitless inning in rehab stint
ST. LOUIS -- Disabled Dodgers reliever Kenley Jansen pitched another hitless inning with two strikeouts in a rehab appearance Tuesday night for Class A Rancho Cucamonga.
Jansen, out a month with an irregular heartbeat, also struck out two in an appearance Sunday and is expected to be activated Friday.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.