Three major league baseball players will sit out the 2020 season over coronavirus concerns, including two from the reigning World Series champion Washington Nationals.
The MLB last week announced a plan to return to play that features a 60-game regular-season schedule anticipated to begin on July 23 or 24.
"After a great deal of thought and given my family circumstances — three young children, including a newborn, and a mother at high risk — I have decided not to participate in the 2020 season," Ryan Zimmerman, 35, said Monday in a statement.
Zimmerman, who plays for the Nationals, expressed disappointment he would not be able to get a shot at back-to-back titles but said this was "the best decision for me and my family."
Writing for the Associated Press last week, he cited his mother’s multiple sclerosis as one of the major reasons he would sit out.
"I have a 3-week-old baby. My mother has multiple sclerosis and is super high-risk; if I end up playing, I can pretty much throw out the idea of seeing her until weeks after the season is over," Zimmerman wrote.
Joe Ross of the Nationals also decided to sit out the season for “personal health and safety of themselves and their loved ones,” according to Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo.
Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Mike Leake, 32, on Monday also announced his intention to sit out.
"During this global pandemic, Mike and his family had many discussions about playing this season," Leake's agent said in a statement Monday. "They took countless factors into consideration, many of which are personal to him and his family. After thorough consideration, he has chosen to opt out of playing in 2020. This was not an easy decision for Mike. He wishes the best of luck and health for his Diamondback teammates this season and he's looking forward to 2021."
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