Jansen, the Dodgers' All-Star closer, said he seemingly acquired the virus from his 4-year-old son, Kaden, who had a fever one night and later tested positive. Jansen initially tested negative, then tested positive in a follow-up exam. He acquired the virus nearly three weeks ago but said he began to feel better by the fourth day.
"I tried to be careful, do everything we could do to try to avoid this virus," Jansen said on a video call with reporters from Dodger Stadium. "It happened so fast."
Jansen has previously dealt with atrial fibrillation, a condition that causes the heart to beat out of rhythm, and underwent his second ablation procedure in a span of six years in November of 2018.
After being diagnosed with the coronavirus, Jansen put himself on a restrictive diet, limiting sodium, cutting out dairy, drinking plenty of electrolytes and walking around as often as possible. Two days after being symptom-free, he began to play catch, then started utilizing the gym in his house and ultimately threw off the mound again, his latest bullpen session coming on Friday. Jansen expects to be ready for the season opener in 11 days and didn't give any consideration to the possibility of opting out.
"I always wanted to play," Jansen said. "I love this game. I wanted to do it for the fans. We're all going through a tough time right now in this world together. I think this is a good thing, not only for Dodger fans but all baseball fans around the world who have something to watch on TV."
Jansen joins Atlanta Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman, Kansas City Royals catcher Salvador Perez, Texas Rangers outfielder Joey Gallo, New York Yankees second baseman DJ LeMahieu and closer Aroldis Chapman, Milwaukee Brewers shortstop Luis Urias and Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder Kole Calhoun among the more notable players to have publicly revealed they have tested positive for COVID-19.
Coronavirus cases continue to surge throughout the country as professional baseball, basketball and hockey are on the verge of returning. The U.S. reported 66,627 new cases on Friday, a record for the second time this week. Florida alone had 15,300 on Saturday. In the midst of that, players such as San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey, Washington Nationals corner infielder Ryan Zimmerman, Chicago White Sox starter Michael Kopech and Jansen's teammate, David Price, have decided to opt out of the upcoming 60-game season.
"Take it serious, man," Jansen said when asked if he had any advice for fans. "Wear your mask at all times."
Jansen has been in L.A. ever since spring training was canceled around the middle of March. He said everyone who lives in his house, including his wife and two other children, tested positive for the coronavirus after Kaden was diagnosed. They have all recovered, but Jansen said "we're all still paranoid" over the fear of contracting the virus again.
"It's definitely scary and definitely a disappointment," Jansen said. "When my son had it, it was more the disappointment of, 'Why does my son have it and why not me?' You just don't want that to happen to one of your kids. Next thing you know, we all got it. It is scary, man. But at the same time, you have to keep the faith and just fight it."