Braves’ Nick Markakis Bows Out of MLB Season After Talking to Sick Teammate

Markakis won't play in 2020 after talking with Freddie Freeman, who has COVID-19

Braves Player Bows Out of MLB Season After Talking to Sick Teammate
Nick Markakis at bat during spring training. (Mark Brown/Getty)
Getty Images
By Evan Bleier / July 6, 2020 1:48 pm

Add Nick Markakis of the Atlanta Braves to the growing number of MLB players who are opting out of playing baseball in 2020.

Markakis, 36, told reporters he made the decision to sit out after talking with his teammate Freddie Freeman on the phone. Freeman, 30, tested positive for COVID-19 and has been experiencing symptoms.

The conversation with Freeman made Markakis, a father of three, “open his eyes” and reconsider his decision to play.

“I was excited to get back to playing just as much as everybody else,” he said. “I think the biggest thing is I talked to Freddie Freeman and just hearing the way he sounded on the phone just opened my eyes.”

In an Instagram post, Freeman’s wife Chelsea said the four-time All-Star has been experiencing body aches, headaches, chills and a high fever.

“He is someone who literally never gets sick and this virus hit him like a ton of bricks,” she wrote. “We’ve been really strict for the last 4 months. Haven’t gone to a grocery store, haven’t gone out to dinner once, haven’t seen our friends … and still got it. Please take this virus seriously, wear a mask when in public and wash your hands frequently.”

Atlanta manager Brian Snitker also conceded that Freeman, one of four Braves who have tested positive thus far, is “not feeling great.”

More and more MLB players will likely follow in Markakis’s footsteps and there is a possibility, albeit a small one, the season could be canceled or at least altered if enough players decide to sit out.

Asked about whether he thought there would be a season, Markakis, who is undecided about if he’ll return to play in 2021, had this response: “I could ask you the same question. I have no idea; you have no idea. It’s one of those things you just kind of have to see how it plays out. You don’t want to see anybody sick or hurt.”

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