Washington Nationals infielder Ryan Zimmerman and pitcher Joe Ross will not play the 2020 season, the team confirmed Monday. Arizona Diamondbacks right-hander Mike Leake also decided not to play this season, according to a statement from his agent.
"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," Mike Rizzo, General Manager of the Nationals, said in a statement.
"We fully support his decision not to play this year. We will miss his presence at the club and his contributions on the field."
Zimmerman, a two-time All Star, clarified that his reasoning behind the decision is related to family and feels that playing puts those loved ones at risk.
"Everyone knows how much being a team means to me, and I will miss that camaraderie a lot this year," he said in a separate statement. "Of course I would love to pursue consecutive titles. I cannot speak for anyone else, but given the 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."
Leake also cited the family as the main reason why she decided not to play.
"During this global pandemic, Mike and his family had a lot of discussions about playing this season. They took into account countless factors, many of which are personal to him and his family," Leake agent Danny Horwits told CNN in a release. "After careful consideration, he has chosen to stop playing in 2020. This was not an easy decision for Mike."
Horwits added that Leake hopes to join his team again in 2021.
Their decisions not to participate in the game come at a time when coronavirus cases are on the rise in the U.S.
Typically, the 30 MLB teams play 162 games from late March or early April to late September or early October, followed by a postseason. But the 2020 baseball season never started due to the pandemic.
MLB players and staff will report to their respective teams beginning Wednesday. Clubs can start full workouts on Friday with Opening Day games on July 23 or 24.
CNN's Ralph Ellis contributed to this report.