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D-backs starting pitcher Mike Leake opting out of 2020 season

Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Mike Leake throws in the second inning of a baseball game against the Cincinnati Reds, Sunday, Sept. 8, 2019, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Mike Leake has decided to opt out of the 2020 MLB season that’s been shortened to 60 games due to the coronavirus.

“He has informed us that that is what he is going to do,” D-backs general manager Mike Hazen said on a Zoom call with reporters Monday.

Hazen did not divulge a reason why Leake will not play this season.

“During this global pandemic, Mike and his family had many discussions about playing this season,” agent Danny Horwits told ESPN’s Jeff Passan. “They took countless factors into consideration, many of which are personal to him and his family.

“After thorough consideration, he has chosen to opt out of playing in 2020. This was not an easy decision for Mike. He wishes the best of health and luck for his Diamondbacks teammates this season and he’s looking forward to 2021.”

MLB players who qualify with preexisting conditions that make them high risk to be exposed to the coronavirus can opt out of the season without losing pay. Players who do not have those conditions can still opt out, but will lose pay and service time.

Leake, who is a free agent heading into 2021, was the first known major league player to opt out of the season.

His decision makes manager Torey Lovullo’s life a little bit easier in lining up five starters to begin the year. Madison Bumgarner, Robbie Ray, Luke Weaver, Zac Gallen and Merrill Kelly are among the favorites to land starting jobs without the 32-year-old Leake available.

Arizona acquired Leake before the trade deadline last season. He appeared in 10 games for the D-backs, going 3-3 with a 4.35 ERA and 1.37 WHIP.

Leake, a right-handed pitcher, entered the start of spring training in February out due to a left wrist fracture. He expected to be ready to play by the original regular season opener on March 26.

The pitcher was named on Monday to the 60-man roster that the D-backs set to begin a preseason training camp restart.

ArizonaSports.com’s Matt Layman reported for this story.


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