On Monday, Atlanta Braves outfielder Nick Markakis opted out of the 2020 season due to increased concerns about the coronavirus pandemic. Markakis is the second Atlanta veteran in two days to announce plans to sit out the 60-game season. He follows right-hander Félix Hernández, who opted out on Sunday.
The 36-year-old Markakis said Monday he was uneasy about playing the season without fans and then was swayed by his telephone conversation with teammate Freddie Freeman, who has tested positive for COVID-19 and has fever and other symptoms. “Just hearing him, the way he sounded on the phone, it was tough,” Markakis said. “It was kind of eye-opening. What everything that’s going on, not just with baseball but all over the world, it makes you open your eyes.” Freeman, pitcher Will Smith, right-hander Touki Toussaint and infielder Pete Kozma tested positive for the coronavirus.
Following nine seasons with Baltimore, Markakis was entering his sixth season with Atlanta. Markakis hit .285 with nine homers and 62 RBIs in 2019, a year after he was an All-Star.
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