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Dodgers' David Price opts out of playing this season over coronavirus concerns

Jorge Castillo, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Baseball

LOS ANGELES -- Dodgers pitcher David Price, citing his and his family's health during the novel coronavirus outbreak, announced Saturday that he has opted not to participate in the 2020 season.

Price, who turns 35 next month, is the first Dodgers player to publicly declare his intention to not play this season. He posted his announcement on social media Saturday while the Dodgers were holding their second official workout of training camp at Dodger Stadium. The team is scheduled to open its 60-game season July 23.

"After considerable thought and discussion with my family and the Dodgers, I have decided it is in the best interest of my health and my family's health for me to not play this season," Price wrote. "I will miss my teammates and will be cheering for them throughout the season and on to a World Series victory. I'm sorry I won't be playing for you this year, but look forward to representing you next year."

The Dodgers later issued a statement backing Price's decision.

"The Dodgers fully support David's decision to sit out the 2020 season," the Dodgers said. "We have been in constant contact with David and we understand how much this deliberation weighed on him and his family. We know he'll be rooting hard for the club every day and look forward to having him back with us in 2021."

Price will forfeit his entire prorated salary -- approximately $11.8 million of the $32 million salary he would've made in a 162-game season -- and service time for 2020 because he was not medically designated as a high-risk individual. Major League Baseball ruled only high-risk players can opt out and receive their full prorated salaries and service time for the season.

 

The 2012 AL Cy Young Award winner and a five-time All-Star, Price is the most notable player across the majors to decide not to play in 2020 thus far. He joins Mike Leake of the Arizona Diamondbacks, Ian Desmond of the Colorado Rockies, and Ryan Zimmerman and Joe Ross of the Washington Nationals. Those players decided it was not worth playing as COVID-19 cases rise in states around the country.

"The guys who do opt out, I understand that," Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw said. "I get that decision. ... Everyone is going to have to make individual decisions and we're going to support that as a team with whatever happens with our guys."

After three months of public negotiations over money while the league was suspended, MLB and the players' union agreed to stage a season different than other major American professional sports leagues' attempts to play during the pandemic.

Instead of keeping teams in hubs like the NBA, NHL, and MLS, teams will travel from city to city, though confined to their regions to avoid long trips. A 101-page Operations Manual featuring rules changes and minute details down to banning hotel swimming pool use was produced.

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