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Ryan Zimmerman opts out of 2020 season

Ryan Zimmerman

35-year-old slugger Ryan Zimmerman is opting out of the shortened 2020 MLB season.

The Nationals’ first baseman has decided not to play primarily due health concerns. He recently had a baby, and his mother suffers from a chronic illness as well. Considering the risk factors of bringing the virus home to his loved ones, he will not play and will forgo his salary for 2020.

The Washington Post’s Barry Svrluga reported the news via Twitter, while adding on that Zimmerman is not retiring.

During the Nationals’ World Series-winning season last year, Zimmerman earned a batting average of .257 in 52 games. He only had 27 RBI and six homers in his shortened campaign. He is, however, one of the longest tenured Nats, having been with the team since 2005.

A fan favorite and a veteran leader on the team, Washington will likely miss his presence on the team. Considering the unprecedented times and the extremely strange and shortened season, that leadership will be at a premium on every team.

Zimmerman is the first high-profile player to refuse to play during the pandemic. This may indicate a sea change for other players on the fence.

Featured Image courtesy of Cliff Owen/Associated Press

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