Home / Sport / Mike Leake, Ryan Zimmerman and Joe Ross give up on the MLB season

Mike Leake, Ryan Zimmerman and Joe Ross give up on the MLB season

Ryan Zimmerman has been a fixture in the Washington Nationals’ lineup and clubhouse since the franchise moved from Montreal in 2005, and has been a staple reserve for a team that beat the Houston Astros in an exciting World Series of seven games last October.

But if Major League Baseball is able to launch a shortened 60-game season in a pandemic in late July, citizens will defend their title without the 35-year-old corner defender who was considered the heart and soul of the ‘organization.

Joe Zimmerman and Nationals pitcher Joe Ross, 27, has given up on the 2020 shortened season “for the health and personal safety of yourself and loved ones,”

; the team announced on Monday.

Arizona Diamondback pitcher Mike Leake, 32, and Colorado Rockies service man Ian Desmond, 34, also gave up on the 2020 season, both losing $ 5.2 million in a proportional salary.

Zimmerman, who made his major series debut on September 1, 2005, cited the circumstances of his family – he has three young children, including a newborn baby, and a mother who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis – as a reason for the his decision.

Ryan Zimmerman of the Washington Nationals celebrates after hitting a three-shot home run off Dodgers' pitcher Pedro Baez.

Washington Nationals ‘Ryan Zimmerman celebrates with third-base coach Bob Henley after hitting a home run of three games outside Dodgers’ pitcher Pedro Baez.

(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

“Everyone knows how much it means for me to be part of a team and I will miss that camaraderie a lot this year,” said Zimmerman in a statement. “Of course, I’d like to pursue consecutive titles. I can’t speak for anyone else, but given the unusual nature of the season, this is the best decision for me and my family and I really appreciate the understanding and support of the organization. “

Zimmerman, Ross and Leake’s decisions arrive four days before the teams plan to start training camps in their home stadiums and with COVID-19 cases, positivity rates and hospitalizations increase dramatically in several states – including Florida, Texas, Arizona and California – which host MLB teams.

Fear and trepidation about the coronavirus could push more players to give up on the season.

“I am excited to have the opportunity to go back and play, but at the same time, I am a little afraid of how it will be … there is a little nervousness and apprehension,” said Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun Monday ready to leave his Malibu home to return to Milwaukee to restart the training camp.

“My biggest priority is to be a father and a second husband first, so leaving three small children and my wife to enter an environment where I don’t know what it will be like or when I will return exactly or how safe it will be, it’s a little scary and completely different from anything I’ve ever experienced. “

Braun, 36, said he was still not comfortable with his wife Larisa; 5 year old daughter, Celine; 3 year old son, Greyson; and his 4-week-old son, Carter, traveling to Milwaukee. He wants to see if there is an MLB season and how both Los Angeles and Milwaukee are reaching numbers of cases and hospitalizations next month.

“Initially they won’t come because there are a lot of unknowns and uncertainties,” said Braun, a six-time All-Star and the most valuable player in the National League 2011. “I think it’s easier and safer to stay here for now and then we’ll evaluate how they go things and if everything is normal and safe “.

Braun has stated that he is not convinced that MLB will be able to start or complete a season.

“I am optimistic that we will play the games, but obviously, if we look at what is happening in the country, the COVID numbers are not good,” he said. “There are a significant number of athletes who have shown themselves to be positive, which is indicative of the overall numbers in our country right now.”

The risk to his family was not worth the reward of playing a 15th season for Zimmerman, who hit .257 with six homers and 27 RBIs in 52 games in 2019 and hit a dramatic home run in Game 1 of the World Series.

But Zimmerman, who signed a $ 2 million one-year contract for 2020, after citizens refused to exercise his $ 18 million option, said he did not withdraw.

“I haven’t decided my future in baseball after 2020,” said Zimmerman, who has amassed $ 138 million in career earnings. “But this year I will be safe at home and will do as strong as anyone for the boys to defend our championship.”

Desmond, an 11-year-old veteran, announced his decision Monday evening at the end of a long Instagram post on police brutality, racial injustice and lack of accessibility to baseball for too many young people.

“With a pregnant wife and four young children who have a lot of questions about what’s going on in the world, home is where I need to be now,” said Desmond, who is biracial. “Home for my wife, Chelsey. Home to help. Home to drive. Home to answer questions from my three eldest children about coronavirus, civil rights and life. Home to be their dad. “

Leake, a 10-year veteran, was entering the last year of a $ 80 million five-year deal after going 12-11 with an ERA 4.29 for Seattle and Arizona in 2019.

His right arm was not considered a “high risk individual” as part of MLB’s health and safety operations manual, so he will lose his 2020 salary. His father, Chris Leake, suffered a catastrophic fall from the roof of a house on he was working on in 2013 and is paralyzed from the waist down.

“During this global pandemic, Mike has discussed many times about playing this season,” said agent Danny Horwits in a note. “They have considered countless factors, many of which are personal to him and his family. After careful consideration, he chose to give up playing in 2020.

“This was not an easy decision for Mike. Wish the best of luck and health for his Diamondbacks teammates this season and look forward to 2021. “

Ross went 4-4 with a 5.38 ERA last season and was expecting to compete for fifth-tier citizens. The left-handed didn’t make a statement, but his family may have played a role in his decision. According to Athletic, Ross’s father is a pediatrician and his mother is an emergency room nurse in Oakland.

Washington Nationals pitcher Joe Ross launches during a spring training game against March 2, in West Palm Beach, Florida.

Washington Nationals pitcher Joe Ross launches during spring training against the Miami Marlins on March 2.

(Jeff Roberson / Associated Press)

Zimmerman mentioned this decision in May when he wrote a journal for the Associated Press.

“I love baseball and I know how much America loves baseball, but do you know what I love most about baseball? My family, “said Zimmerman.” Even if we should be quarantined, what if someone goes to a grocery store? Or a pharmacy to take a prescription? Or something similar?

“Then, suddenly, I am a healthy 35-year-old athlete who perhaps gets sick but is asymptomatic and I go home and I have a 2-week-old baby who takes him. Maybe the child passes him without ever knowing it, but 10 years later, my son’s lungs don’t fully develop. Who knows? We just don’t know all about what this virus does.

“At some point, let’s be honest: what is baseball worth?”

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