Washington infielder Ryan Zimmerman and pitcher Joe Ross will not play in the 2020 season, the team confirmed on Monday. Arizona right-hand pitcher Diamondbacks Mike Leake has also decided not to play this season, according to his agent.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has made this season of baseball a risk that I don’t feel comfortable with,” he said.
“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. Home for help. Home for guidance. Home for answering questions of my three older boys about Coronavirus and political rights and life. Home to be their dad.
“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, General Manager of Nationals, in a statement.
“We support one hundred percent of their decision not to play this year. We will lose their presence in the club and their contributions on the pitch.”
Zimmerman, the two-time All Star, clarified his reasoning behind the family-related decision and feels the game is jeopardizing those he loves.
“Everyone knows how important it is for me to be part of a team and I will miss this companionship this year,” he said in a separate statement. “Of course I would like to follow back-to-back titles. I can’t talk about 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.”
Lake also said that family is the main reason he decided not to play.
“During this global pandemic, Mike and his family have had a lot of discussions about this season’s game. There have been countless factors, many of which are personal to him and his family,” said Leake’s spokesman. Danny Horwits, on CNN. “After a thorough examination, he chose not to participate in 2020. It was not an easy decision for Mike.”
Horwits added that Leake is looking forward to joining his team again in 2021.
Their decision to leave the game comes at a time when corona cases are on the rise in the United States.
Normally, the 30 MLB teams each play 162 games from the end of March or the beginning of April to the end of September or the beginning of October, followed by a post-period. But the 2020 baseball season has never started because of the pandemic.
MLB players and staff will report to their respective teams from Wednesday. Clubs can start full training on Friday with Opening Day games either on July 23 or 24.
CNN’s Ralph Ellis contributed to this report.