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Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Mike Leake becomes first known player to opt out of 2020 MLB season

Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Mike Leake becomes first known player to opt out of 2020 MLB season

PHOENIX (AP) -- Arizona Diamondbacks right-hander Mike Leake has opted out of the 2020 season due to concerns about the coronavirus.

Diamondbacks general manager Mike Hazen did not elaborate on Leake's decision during a Zoom call Monday but the pitcher's agent issued a statement saying he made a personal decision not to play during the pandemic.

RELATED: DOOLITTLE AND ZIMMERMAN HAVE IMPERFECT CHOICES TO MAKE

Hazen also said two players on Arizona's 60-man roster tested positive for COVID-19, as did another player not in Arizona.

The 32-year-old Leake started 10 games for Arizona after being traded from Seattle for outfielder Jose Caballero and cash in 2019. Leake went 3-3 with a 4.35 ERA and was expected to be in the Diamondbacks' starting rotation during the 60-game 2020 season.

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Max Scherzer leaves start against Mets after one inning

Max Scherzer leaves start against Mets after one inning

WASHINGTON -- Something didn't look right from the start Wednesday night when Max Scherzer took the mound.

He walked Mets leadoff hitter Brandon Nimmo on five pitches. Seven of his first eight pitches were balls. All told, he needed 27 pitches -- just 14 were strikes -- to make it through the first inning against the Mets.

His velocity was also down in the 92-94-mph range.

After the inning was over, Erick Fedde began to throw in the Nationals bullpen. Scherzer stood in the dugout with his hands on hips and talking to athletic trainers. Fedde came in to start the top of the second.

Scherzer made 27 starts last season, five fewer than normal, because of neck and back problems which put him on the injured list. He said at spring training he thought he figured out the reason for the problems.

RELATED: SOTO BACK IN NATS LINEUP

Injuries have been pervasive this season since Major League Baseball resumed July 23. That includes fellow Nationals starter Stephen Strasburg, who has missed his first two starts of the season while dealing with a nerve issue in his right hand. Strasburg threw a simulated game on Wednesday.

Scherzer was 0-1 with a 2.84 ERA in two starts in 2020 coming into the game.

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Juan Soto is back in Nationals lineup

Juan Soto is back in Nationals lineup

Juan Soto will be hitting cleanup and playing left field Wednesday night against the New York Mets. It's a simple, yet long time coming, phrase.

His season debut comes nine games and almost two weeks into the 2020 season. Soto has twice been quarantined under coronavirus protocols -- once for contact tracing reasons and once because of a positive test he thinks was a false positive -- stalling his entrance to a game that mattered.

Tuesday, Soto danced on top of the dugout following Howie Kendrick’s home run because he was watching the game from a few rows back in the stands.

Wednesday, he will face Mets right-hander Rick Porcello.

The Nationals were missing one of the league’s best offensive players after Soto’s positive test result was revealed July 23, hours before the season opener. He came out of quarantine 10 days later, rejoining the team Aug. 1 for weekend workouts. The first priority was to get him at-bats. He did that Saturday. Sunday, he spent six simulated innings in left field. Monday he swung more, Tuesday he worked on everything before watching the game, then Wednesday he was back.

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Soto told Davey Martinez on Monday that he was not yet ready to play Tuesday because his body was sore and legs were heavy. That was in line with Soto’s initial projection for his return anyway. He said he was targeting Wednesday, and here he is.

Max Scherzer will pitch against the Mets. The Nationals are 4-4 after winning three consecutive games.

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