Dodgers: Who faces health concerns in returning to play amid coronavirus?

Los Angeles Dodgers manager Dave Roberts and closer Kenley Jansen are two examples who need to consider their health history before returning to play.


Los Angeles Dodgers players and coaches have plenty to consider in preparing for a potential 2020 season, from reading a 67-page document on health protocols, to resolving financial concerns, to identifying where they will be playing.

However, for a few Dodger team members, there are added concerns: What do you do if you or your family has a health condition that potentially puts you at higher risk to the extreme dangers of catching the novel coronavirus?

Luckily, it appears team doctors believe the Dodgers are safe.

Manager Dave Roberts was told that his cancer history does not increase his risk for severe illness associated with Covid-19, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The 47-year-old former ballplayer was diagnosed for Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2010, but has been cancer-free since 2011.

“I asked [the doctor] if I were to go back, does that put me in any different [risk] category, and he said absolutely not,” Roberts told the Los Angeles Times on Monday. “He didn’t really give me any details, and I didn’t really ask.”

As Major League Baseball and the player’s union negotiate terms to return to play in 2020, it is easy to focus on the macro-level issues. However, each individual player and coach must consider their own health situation in judging whether it is safe for them to be exposed to groups of people at a baseball stadium, with fans in attendance or not.

Dodgers players must consider their health history before playing this season.

Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen is someone who will need to pay extra attention to the potential risks of playing. The 32-year-old had heart surgery in 2018 after a scary atrial fibrillation episode during the season.

According to CDC guidelines, people with serious heart conditions are considered at higher risk for severe illness from Covid-19. Jansen’s most recent heart procedure was supposed to fix the major problem that caused him to have issues in 2018, but you never know.

Dave Roberts feels confident the right-hander is safe to pitch this season.

“From everything I’ve heard, Kenley is not at any higher risk than anyone else,” Roberts said. “He’s a caged lion right now. He can’t get going soon enough.”

Another Dodgers player who faces unique circumstances in balancing the desire to play with health concerns is outfielder A.J. Pollock. His daughter was recently born at only 24 weeks. Luckily for him, the break in the schedule has allowed him to remain home and take care of his family. He has been talking to doctors about potential risks to his daughter if he returns to the field. He also feels confident that he will figure out a way to play.

A lot to consider as baseball tries to manage a comeback amid the coronavirus pandemic.