A small group of players have announced they plan to sit out the shortened 60-game baseball season out of health concerns amid the coronavirus pandemic.
After weeks of negotiations, the MLB season is expected restart in late July.
» MARK BRADLEY: Will MLB be able to go the distance?
Here’s a look at the players who won’t play in 2020:
Arizona Diamondbacks right-hander Mike Leake is one of the first players to opt out of the 2020 season due to concerns about the coronavirus.
The 32-year-old Leake started 10 games for Arizona after being traded from Seattle for outfielder Jose Caballero and cash in a 2019 deadline deal. Leake went 3-3 with a 4.35 ERA with Arizona and earned his first AL Gold Glove Award for his time with the Mariners.
Leake was included in the Diamondbacks’ 60-player pool released earlier Monday, but will be moved in a later transaction. He was expected to compete for a spot in the Diamondbacks’ starting rotation during the 60-game season.
Longtime Washington Nationals infielder Ryan Zimmerman and teammate Joe Ross have decided not to play this season.
General manager Mike Rizzo said Zimmerman and Ross opted out “for the personal health and safety of themselves and their loved ones,” adding the team supports their decisions.
Zimmerman said in a statement his family situation factored into his decision. His mother is at high risk for complications from the coronavirus because she has multiple sclerosis, and he has three young children, including a newborn. He told The Associated Press last week he was still undecided on whether to play.
As part of his announcement, the 35-year-old Zimmerman said he’s not retiring. Zimmerman, who has been with the Nationals since 2005, said he still is deciding on his future beyond this season. The two-time All-Star and 2009 Gold Glove winner has 270 career homers.
Ross is a 27-year-old right-hander with five years of major league experience, all with Washington.
Colorado Rockies outfielder Ian Desmond plans to sit out this season to be with his family and help grow youth baseball in his hometown in Florida.
The 34-year-old Desmond, who cited his pregnant wife and four kids, wrote on Instagram that the “COVID-19 pandemic has made this baseball season one that is a risk I am not comfortable taking.” The biracial slugger also mentioned a myriad issues within baseball, including racism, sexism, homophobia and socioeconomic concerns.
Desmond, who hit .255 with 20 homers in 140 games last season, had been due $5,555,556 for the prorated share of his $15 million salary, part of a $70 million, five-year contract. He is owed $8 million next year, and his deal includes a $15 million team option for 2022 with a $2 million buyout.
Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.
Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.
Download the new AJC app. More local news, more breaking news and in-depth journalism. AJC.com. Atlanta. News. Now.
Download the new AJC app. More local news, more breaking news and in-depth journalism.
With the largest team in the state, the AJC reports what’s really going on with your tax dollars and your elected officials. Subscribe today. Visit the AJC's Georgia Navigator for the latest in Georgia politics.
Your subscription to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism. Visit the AJC's Georgia Navigator for the latest in Georgia politics.