Washington National Inferder Ryan Zimmerman and pitcher Joe Ross will not play the 2020 season, the team confirmed Monday. Arizona Diamondbacks right-hander Mike Leake has also decided not to play this season, according to a statement from his agent.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has made this baseball season a risk that I will not accept,” he wrote in his post.
“With a pregnant wife and four young children who have a lot of questions about what’s going on in the world, home is where I need to be now. Home for my wife, Chelsey. A house to help. A house to run. A house to answer. Questions from my elders. three boys about coronavirus and civil rights and life. Home to be their father. “
“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,” said Mike Rizzo, CEO of Nacionals.
“We fully support their decision not to play this year. We will miss their presence at the clubhouse and their contribution on the field.”
Zimmerman, a double All Star, explained that the reasons for the decision are family-related, and believes playing plays puts those loves in danger.
“Everyone knows how much it means to me to be part of a team. I will miss those friendships this year,” he said in a separate statement. “Of course I would love to follow the headlines backwards. I can’t talk to anyone else, but given the nature of the season, this is the best decision for me and my family and I really appreciate the understanding and support of the organization.”
Leake also stated that the main reason the family decided not to play.
“During this global pandemic, Mike and his family have had a lot of discussions about playing this season. They’ve taken countless factors into account, many of which are personal to him and his family,” Leake’s agent, Danny Horwits, told CNN. “After careful consideration, he decided to give up playing 2020. This was not an easy decision for Mike.”
Horwits added that Leake is looking forward to rejoining his team in 2021.
Their decisions to give up playing come during a time when the number of coronavirus cases is growing in the US.
Typically, 30 MLB teams play 162 games from late March or early April to late September or early October, followed by the postseason. But the 2020 baseball season never started because of the pandemic.
MLB players and staff will submit their teams from Wednesday. Clubs can begin full training sessions on Friday with Opening Day games or July 23 or 24.
CNN’s Ralph Ellis contributed to this report.