PHOENIX (AP) – Arizona Diamondbacks right-back pitcher Mike Leake is one of the first major league players to quit competing in the 2020 season due to fears about the coronavirus.
Leake’s decision was announced Monday by Diamondbacks general manager Mike Hazen. Soon after, Ryan Zimmerman and Joe Ross, both of the Washington National champions, also chose not to participate in the shortened season.
« During this global pandemic, Mike and his family have had a lot of conversations about whether he should play this season, » Leake’s agent Danny Horwits said in a statement released Monday.
“They have considered factors an endless number of factors, many of which are personal to him and his family. After careful consideration, he has decided not to play in 2020. It was not an easy decision for Mike. He wishes his Diamondbacks teammates the best of luck and health this season and has his sights set on 2021. ”
Hazen also mentioned that two players on Arizona’s 60 roster tested positive for COVID-19, as well as another player who is not in Arizona.
Leake, 32, opened 10 games for Arizona after being transferred from Seattle by Panamanian outfielder Jose Caballero and effective on the 2019 trade deadline. Leake had a 3-3 record and a 4.35 ERA with Arizona, and earned his First Gold Glove in the American League for his performance with the Mariners.
Leake had been included in the Diamondbacks’ call for 60 players, released early Monday, but will be removed. He was expected to compete for a spot in the starting rotation during the 60-game season.
« It certainly affects us, » Hazen said. « He is a starting pitcher in the big leagues. As for the extent that it will affect us, it’s hard to say. I think he probably has a different answer if it were 162 (games) versus 60 ». .
Major League Baseball will allow players with pre-existing medical conditions or a compromised immune system to decline their participation in the 2020 campaign, but Hazen declined to say whether Leake falls into that category.
The Diamondbacks will also be without a pair of international prospects due to travel restrictions during the pandemic: Bahamian outfielder Kristian Robinson and Brazilian pitcher Bo Takahashi.