Recovered from COVID-19, Jansen arrives

July 12th, 2020

LOS ANGELES -- Dodgers closer reported to Summer Camp on Sunday after recovering from a nearly three-week siege of COVID-19 and said he expects to be ready for Opening Day on July 23.

Jansen, noting he is a “moderate-risk” patient because of a heart condition, said his son first contracted the virus and he and the entire family soon also tested positive for the virus. All are recovered and he was cleared to play after following MLB’s protocols, which require a pair of negative test results.

He said he never considered electing not to play this season.

“I always wanted to play,” he said. “I love this game. I wanted to play for the fans. Not only Dodger fans, but baseball fans around the world to have something to watch on TV.”

Jansen is the biggest name of seven Dodgers who did not report to Summer Camp with the remainder of the club. He is the first Dodger to confirm he was absent because of the virus. The club gave no explanation for his absence because of privacy laws.

His absence, as well as the continuing absence of Pedro Báez and Scott Alexander, left the bullpen in disarray, with Joe Kelly and Blake Treinen among the potential replacements standing by.

Jansen said he believes he’s still in baseball shape because he had been working out at his home gym throughout the four-month break.

“I feel great,” he said. “It’s just two weeks that I couldn’t do anything.”

Jansen, 32, also warned those of any age about the threat of COVID-19.

"It is real, it is serious” he said. “Everyone in the world -- just take it serious, man. Just wear your mask at all times. Trust me, it happened so fast. We tried to do everything to avoid this virus but we all got it in the house."

Jansen said because of his health history, learning he had COVID-19 “definitely was scary,” but he was determined “to fight it and bounce back fast.” The Curacao native was in Los Angeles while sick and said the club’s athletic training staff did “a great job” guiding him through the recovery.

“This might be the new normal right now,” he said of the continuing cautious behavior MLB players must follow.

Jansen said he was in constant communication with his teammates and “it was no time to feel sorry for yourself. Just gave me the motivation to fight harder. The focus now is to win a championship.”

Manager Dave Roberts said he expects Jansen to probably have four “game” appearances -- intrasquad and exhibition -- between now and Opening Day.

“He looks like he’s in great shape,” Roberts said. “When one of your own is affected, it certainly hits home more. Kenley has a story to tell and it makes us more conscious and we relate to it more.”

Roberts said he also expects Báez to be in camp soon and ready for Opening Day.