The MLB season is set to begin at the end of July, but there are a few players who decided to not play due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Washington Nationals star Ryan Zimmerman is among a few MLB players who are opting out because he's looking out for his family. As mentioned by Sports Illustrated, the other players who have opted out are Mike Leake of the Arizona Diamondbacks, Joe Ross of the Nationals, and Ian Desmond of the Colorado Rockies.
"After a great deal of thought and given my family circumstances - three young children, including a newborn, and mother at high risk - I have decided to not participate in the 2020 season," Zimmerman said in a statement. "Everyone knows how much it means to me to be part of a team, and I will miss that camaraderie dearly this year. Of course I would love to pursue back-to-back titles. I cannot speak for anyone else, but given the unusual nature of the season, this is the best decision for me and my family, and I truly appreciate the organization's understanding and support."
Along with his statement, Zimmerman has been writing a diary for the Associated Press since the shutdown of sports in March. In his latest installment, Zimmerman expressed concern about playing during the pandemic. "I have a 3-week-old baby,'' Zimmerman wrote via ESPN. "My mother has multiple sclerosis and is super high-risk; if I end up playing, I can pretty much throw out the idea of seeing her until weeks after the season is over. There's a lot of factors that I and others have to consider. I don't think there's a right or wrong answer; it's everybody's individual choice.''
Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo issued a statement to show his support for Zimmerman and Ross. "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 said. "We are 100 percent supportive of their decision to not play this year. We will miss their presence in the clubhouse and their contributions on the field."
Zimmerman, 35, has been with the Nationals since 2005. Along with helping the team win the World Series last year, Zimmerman is a two-time All-Star and won the Silver Slugger Award in 2009 and 2010.