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Red Sox closer Jansen: Quality of baseballs 'embarrassing'

Nick Grace / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Boston Red Sox closer Kenley Jansen isn't a fan of the baseballs that MLB is using this season.

The veteran reliever commented on the balls after struggling to throw strikes during Sunday's 5-4 win over the Los Angeles Angels. He put some of the blame on himself for throwing 14 of 25 pitches for strikes but directed most of his frustration toward the balls he has to throw.

"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," Jansen said, according to Maureen Mullen of The Associated Press.

Jansen entered Sunday's game in the ninth inning. He hit Angels catcher Logan O'Hoppe with a pitch to begin the frame before allowing a single to Mickey Moniak and a walk to Zach Neto. Jansen recovered to strike out Luis Rengifo and Mike Trout after allowing a run to score on an Anthony Rendon sacrifice fly.

"I don't hit guys, I don't walk people this much. And I start to get frustrated," Jansen said. "Any balls that came, I just throw it back until when I find a good ball. And it's just brutal."

Jansen called the quality of the balls "embarrassing" and said they have only gotten worse throughout his major-league career.

"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."

This isn't the first time a pitcher has commented on the balls used by MLB in recent years. Last season, veteran southpaw Rich Hill said there were quality concerns, mentioning that "every ball is different."

More recently, Tampa Bay Rays closer Pete Fairbanks targeted the humidor used at Coors Field after a rough outing against the Colorado Rockies on April 5.

Jansen has battled control issues throughout most of the campaign thus far, walking eight in 5 2/3 innings. But he's still managed to save four games and passed John Franco for fifth all time in the category in the process.

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