Arizona Diamondbacks right-hander Mike Leake as well as veteran Washington Nationals player Ryan Zimmerman and teammate Joe Ross have decided not to participate in the 2020 MLB season.
"During this global pandemic, Mike and his family had a lot of discussions about playing this season," Leake's agent Danny Horwits said in a statement Monday. “They took into account countless factors, many of which are personal to him and his family. After careful consideration, he has chosen not to participate in 2020. This was not an easy decision for Mike. He wishes the best of luck and health to his Diamondback teammates this season and is looking forward to 2021. "
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Diamondbacks general manager Mike Hazen also said two players on Arizona's 60-man roster tested positive for COVID-19, as did another player who was not in Arizona.
Leake, 32, started 10 games for Arizona after being traded from Seattle by outfielder Jose Caballero and in cash on a 2019 contract. Leake was 3-3 with a 4.35 ERA with Arizona and earned his first AL Award. Gold Glove for her time with the Mariners.
Leake was included in the Diamondbacks' group of 60 players released on Monday, but will be transferred in a later transaction. He was expected to compete for a spot in the Diamondbacks' starting rotation during the 60-game season.
"It definitely impacts us," said Hazen. "He certainly is a good starting pitcher for the big leagues. To what extent it will impact us, it is difficult to say. I think I would probably have a different answer if it was more than 162 (games) instead of more than 60 ".
Major League Baseball is allowing players with pre-existing medical conditions or compromised immune systems to choose not to participate in the 2020 season, but Hazen did not explain if Leake falls into that category.
National infielders Zimmerman and Ross have decided not to play either.
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General manager Mike Rizzo said Zimmerman and Ross opted for "the personal health and safety of themselves and their loved ones," adding that the team supports their decisions.
Zimmerman said in a statement that his family situation influenced his decision. His mother is at high risk for complications from the coronavirus because she has multiple sclerosis and he has three young children, including a newborn. He told The Associated Press last week that he was not yet decided on whether to play or not.
As part of his announcement, Zimmerman, 35, said he will not retire.
Ross is a 27-year-old right-hander with five years of MLB experience, all with Washington.