When the Washington Nationals take the field next month for their first game as defending World Series Champions, they’ll be without the face of their franchise, veteran infielder Ryan Zimmerman and pitcher Joe Ross.
In a statement released Monday afternoon, Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo announced that the two players had decided to skip the 2020 season “for the personal health and safety of themselves and their loved ones.”
“We are one hundred percent supportive of their decision to not play this year,” Rizzo said in the statement. “We will miss their presence in the clubhouse and their contributions on the field.”
The original start of the Major League Baseball season was delayed on account of the Covid-19 pandemic. And after protracted negotiations between franchise owners and the players union, Major League Baseball recently announced that a truncated, 60-game regular season would begin on July 23 and 24, according to MLB.com. Players are expected to report to spring training by July 1.
Zimmerman also released a statement through the sports agency that represents him, CAA Baseball: “After a great deal of thought and given my family circumstances—three young children, including a newborn, and a mother at high risk—I have decided not to participate in the 2020 Season.”