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Several Major Leaguers Opt Out of 2020 Baseball Season on Account of COVID-19

Will the MLB season be over before it even begins?

Major League Baseball may be coming back to the USA in the coming weeks, but not everyone is along for the ride.

The MLB, like nearly every major sports organization on the planet, was forced to postpone their 2020 season on account of the global coronavirus pandemic.  There were even times when it wasn’t certain that there would be any baseball at all this year.

Now, after months of grueling negotiations and planning, our national pastime is set to reemerge from sunny Florida in the latter half of July.  With Florida’s coronavirus cases on the rise, however, there are some notable players who’ve decided to sit the season out, fearing for the safety of themselves and their families.

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The Washington Nationals will try to defend their World Series title without at least two holdovers from last year’s team, including one of the faces of the franchise.

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Longtime infielder Ryan Zimmerman and pitcher Joe Ross elected not to play this season, the team announced Monday. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Major League Baseball is attempting to start a 60-game season in late July.

General manager Mike Rizzo said Zimmerman and Ross are opting out for the safety of themselves and their families.

“We are 100% supportive of their decision to not play this year,” Rizzo said. “We will miss their presence in the clubhouse and their contributions on the field.”

Zimmerman was due $740,741 and Ross $555,556 as prorated portions of their salaries, originally $2 million for the first baseman and $1.5 million for the pitcher. Only players deemed high risk are paid if they opt out.

The decision was easy.

Zimmerman, who said last week he was undecided, ultimately said his family situation factored into not playing. His mother is at high risk for complications from the coronavirus. He also has three young children, including a newborn.

“Everyone knows how much it means to me to be part of a team and I will miss that camaraderie dearly this year,” Zimmerman said in a statement. “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.”

This was already set to be a stunted season, and with some big names refusing to take their rightful roster spot, the asterisk in the record book grows more pronounced by the minute.

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