BY KEVIN MCALPIN
680 THE FAN, ATLANTA – Monday represented the fourth day of Braves camp at Truist Park, and the second consecutive where a veteran player has decided to sit out the 2020 season due to health concerns. Nick Markakis, the 36 year old outfielder has spent the last five seasons in an Atlanta uniform, but decided that the risk just wasn’t worth it during this abbreviated season.
“I talked to Freddie Freeman the other day. Just hearing the way he sounded on the phone kind of opened my eyes” Markakis said on Monday morning. “Just to hear him, the way he sounded on the phone was tough” Nick added. The decision to sit out the season was announced first by manager Brian Snitker, who reiterated his support for anyone who chooses to skip this season. “I talked to him yesterday. That’s a big decision” Snitker said. “I have the utmost respect for Nick and support him 150 percent” the Braves skipper added.
As everyone involved continues to adjust to the health and safety protocols, situations like this will continue to arise. And knowing that fellow teammates have found themselves infected with the virus will likely continue to add to the list of those who don’t feel like the risk is worth the reward in 2020.
In five seasons with the Braves, Markakis appeared in 752 games and hit .284 with 183 doubles, 47 homers and a .403 on base percentage. While his role for 2020 was going to be more limited, Markakis cited his family, concerns for the virus and the fact that ballparks would be empty as reasons he made his final decision.
Kevin McAlpin has covered the Braves since 2012 for @680TheFan and the @BravesRadioNet.