Ryan Zimmerman, Joe Ross, Mike Leake choose not to participate in the 2020 MLB coronavirus season

Reigning World Series champion Ryan Zimmerman and Joe Ross of the Washington Nationals and Mike Leake of the Arizona Diamondbacks are choosing not to participate in the 2020 MLB season over concerns about the coronavirus pandemic. The season is scheduled for start at the end of July.

“After much thought and considering my family’s circumstances, three young children, including a newborn and a high-risk mother, decided to not participate in the 2020 season,” Zimmerman said in a statement. Zimmerman expressed regret that he could not attempt to win consecutive titles, but said this was “the best decision for me and my family.”

Writing for The Associated Press last week, Zimmerman raised these same concerns as he pondered his decision.

“I have a 3-week-old baby. My mother has multiple sclerosis and is at super high risk; if I end up playing, I can rule out the idea of ​​seeing her until weeks after the season ends,” Zimmerman wrote.

“To be clear, I’m not retiring right now,” the 35-year-old first baseman added in his statement Monday. “I haven’t decided my future in baseball after 2020. But this year, I will stay safe at home and push as hard as anybody to have the boys defend our championship.”

Washington Nationals Victory Parade
Ryan Zimmerman # 11 of the Washington Nationals lifts the Commissioner’s Trophy during a parade to celebrate the Washington Nationals World Series victory over the Houston Astros on November 2, 2019 in Washington, DC. This is the first World Series victory for the Nationals in 95 years.

Patrick McDermott / Getty Images

Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said in a statement that both Zimmerman and Ross “decided not to participate in the 2020 season for the personal health and safety of themselves and their loved ones.”

“We fully support his decision not to play this year,” added Rizzo. “We will miss his presence at the clubhouse and his contributions on the field.”

The 27-year-old Ross was expected to compete for a spot in the Nationals’ starting rotation this season.

Diamondbacks pitcher Mike Leake, 32, also announced his intention to sit 2020 on Monday. Before Leake’s announcement Monday, the Diamondbacks released their 60-man roster, which Leake was on.

“During this global pandemic, Mike and his family had a lot of 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 careful consideration, he decided to choose not to play 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 is looking forward to 2021. “

As part of the MLB’s planned 60-game season, players who are considered “high risk” may choose not to participate in the 2020 season and still receive credit for length of service and receive their prorated salary for the season. . Players who are not high risk but have pregnant wives or high risk family members may also choose not to participate, but would lose their salary and time on duty.

None of the three players who opted to leave on Monday is known to be high risk.