Washington Nationals won’t have first baseman Ryan Zimmerman and pitcher Joe Ross on their roster this season as they prepare to embark on another World Series run.
Both Zimmerman and Ross announced on Monday that they opted to sit out the 2020 MLB season amid concerns over the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Nationals later confirmed the news, with the team’s general manager Mike Rizzo saying that the organization remains “supportive of their decision.”
“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,” said Zimmerman. “We are 100 percent supportive of their decision to not play this year. We will miss their presence in the clubhouse and their contributions on the field.”
Zimmerman, who spent his entire career in majors with Nationals, gave a major contribution during the team’s road to the World Series win in 2019. He finished the regular season with .257 batting average, six home runs, and 27 RBIs, and then added a homer in the Game 1 of the World Series.
In a statement posted on social media, the 35-year-old baseman explained the reasons for his decision while adding that sitting out 2020 doesn’t mean he is going to retire.
Ross won’t be as big of a loss as Zimmerman, but his absence will now force Washington to get creative with their fifth starting pitcher. The 27-year-old right-hander pitched 27 games for Nationals in 2019, finishing the year with 4-4 record alongside 5.48 ERA and 57 strikeouts.