Big news was announced on June 29, for Washington Nationals fans across the region: General Manager Mike Rizzo announced that first baseman Ryan Zimmerman has decided to sit out the upcoming 2020 season.
The 15-year veteran joins Nationals pitcher Joe Ross, who will also be sitting out this season due to personal health and safety reasons.
In a statement released through CAA Baseball, Zimmerman stated that his three children, including a newborn, and his mother, who has multiple sclerosis, were factors for not playing this season.
“Everyone knows how much it means to me to be part of a team, and I will miss that camaraderie dearly this year,” Zimmerman said. “Of course I would love to pursue back-to-back titles. I cannot speak for anyone else, but given the unusual nature of the season, this is the best decision for me and my family, and I truly appreciate the organization’s understanding and support.”
In an official statement released by the team, Rizzo said, “We are 100% supportive of their decision to not play this year.”
Both Zimmerman and Ross will be able to be replaced on the Nationals’ 60-man player pool this season with either a player in the organization’s system or through an acquisition with another team.
As Zimmerman postpones his 16th season, the former first-round pick said he has not made a decision at the moment on whether he is going to retire. The 35-year-old will definitely be missed on the field as the team heads into a shortened 60-game season, the shortest season in MLB history since 1878. Zimmerman played a big role this past year as the Nationals went on a run to win the franchise’s first World Series title, even hitting the first World Series home run in the team’s history.
The rest of the team is taking to the field for summer training starting Wednesday, July 1 at Nationals Park. The Nats start their quest for back-to-back titles on either Thursday, July 23 or Friday, July 24, when MLB plans to restart the 2020 season.
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