Several Major League Baseball players are opting out of playing the 2020 season due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The list currently includes the Colorado Rockies’ Ian Desmond, Washington Nationals’ Ryan Zimmerman and Joe Ross and Arizona Diamondbacks’ Mike Leake, according to the Hill in a piece published Tuesday. (RELATED: REPORT: Coachella Potentially Rescheduled To October Due To Coronavirus Fears)
“The COVID-19 pandemic has made this baseball season one that is a risk I am not comfortable taking,” Desmond explained in his lengthy post on Instagram. Desmond also addressed the death of George Floyd, who died late in May while in custody of a Minneapolis police officer. (RELATED: Pearl Jam Postpones North American Tour Over Growing Coronavirus Concerns)
“With a pregnant wife and four young children who have lots of questions about what’s going on in the world, home is where I need to be right now,” Desmond, who is biracial, added.
— Cut4 (@Cut4) June 30, 2020
“Home for my wife, Chelsey. Home to help. Home to guide,” the baseball star continued. “Home to answer my older three boys’ questions about coronavirus, civil rights and life. Home to be their dad.”
Washington Nationals General Manager Mike Rizzo told CNN why two of his players, Zimmerman and Ross, will not be playing when the reduced 60-game season starts up next month after being put on hold due to the pandemic.
“Ryan Zimmerman and Joe Ross have decided not to participate in the 2020 season for the personal health and safety of themselves and their loved ones,” Rizzo shared with the outlet. “We are one hundred percent supportive of their decision to not play this year. We will miss their presence in the clubhouse and their contributions on the field.”
The Diamondbacks’ Mike Leake will also not be joining the team this season according to his agent, Danny Horwits, per MLB.com.
“During this global pandemic, Mike and his family had many discussions about playing this season,” the statement from Horwits read. “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 Diamondbacks teammates this season and he’s looking forward to 2021.”
According to a report in SportingNews.com:
Baseball is allowing players who are deemed “high-risk” to opt out of playing and not lose their prorated season salaries or service time. Players who are not considered high-risk can also opt out, but then they would forfeit their salaries and not accrue service time.
The reduced MLB season is set to officially open July 23 following a brief training period that starts this Friday July 3 at clubs’ home parks.