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Could more Nationals opt-out of 2020 season as Opening Day draws near?

Could more Nationals opt-out of 2020 season as Opening Day draws near?

The Nationals begin defending their World Series title on July 23 against the New York Yankees. Ryan Zimmerman and Joe Ross have both opted out of the 2020 season. Could there be more? The crew from the Nationals Talk podcast believes it’s likely. 

“I do wonder once they get into this routine if some players will say ‘Nope, this isn’t for me,’” Nick Ashooh asked. “I have a feeling we’ll probably see some players bow out in the first couple weeks of the season.” 

Nationals closer Sean Doolittle has continued to voice his concerns about the 60-game season. Doolittle told reporters on July 5 that "I think I'm planning on playing. But at any point, if I start to feel unsafe, if it starts to take a toll on my mental health, with all the things we have to think about and this cloud of uncertainty hanging over everything, then I'll opt-out."

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Doolittle’s wife, Eireann Dolan, has a chronic lung condition and as NBC Sports Washington Nats reporter Todd Dybas pointed out on the podcast, when at home, Doolittle will not be living with his wife during the season. 

Chase Hughes noted that road games could be a cause for concern for players. Hughes said they could be “feeling that anxiety when you’re at home and on the road,” especially if you have young children in your house.  

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Opening Day for the Nationals is only two weeks away and many unknowns still remain. Could more players opt-out in 2020? It’s possible and definitely worth keeping an eye on as Opening Day approaches. 

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Nationals cut trumpet inspiration Bonifacio, after mistake filled start

Nationals cut trumpet inspiration Bonifacio, after mistake filled start

Thursday marked the first -- and last -- cut down deadline of the 2020 baseball season.

Rosters need to be trimmed from 30 to 28, but will hold at 28 for the rest of the season as opposed to dipping to 26. Multiple coronavirus outbreaks have caused a multitude of scheduling problems. So, Major League Baseball decided to leave the rosters expanded for the remainder of the season.

The Nationals chose to send reliever James Bourque to the alternate training site in Fredericksburg and designated utility man Emilio Bonifácio for assignment.

These were simple and direct moves. The signing of Josh Harrison and Juan Soto’s return meant Bonifácio was expendable. His upbeat vibe -- and creation of the trumpet celebration -- was not enough to keep him on the roster.

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Borque pitched 1 ⅓ innings out of the bullpen. He was the last option among the large reliever group.

The expanded rosters allow the Nationals -- and everyone else -- to wade through the rest of the season with more pitching. It will be necessary to handle prospective doubleheaders and other scheduling problems the remainder of the season.

The Nationals are 4-5 after losing 3-1 to the New York Mets on Wednesday. They were off Thursday. Baltimore comes to Nationals Park for a three-game series beginning Friday.

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Nationals cancel 2021 Winterfest due to COVID-19

Nationals cancel 2021 Winterfest due to COVID-19

The coronavirus pandemic will prevent fans from attending Nationals games during the 2020 season and it appears will also cost them an annual offseason tradition.

The Nationals announced Wednesday their plans to cancel Winterfest 2021. The convention was originally scheduled for January 2021.

"Due to the continued uncertainty surrounding COVID-19, we have made the difficult decision to cancel Winterfest 2021, which was scheduled to be held in January," the team said in a statement. "We know how important this event is to our fans. That said, we look forward to offering a variety of alternative opportunities for our community to come together to celebrate our team."

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Details regarding the alternative opportunities are unknown as of this writing. 

In the meantime, Washington will continue to play its 2020 season without fans. They are 4-5 entering a series with the Orioles Friday and had to take four days off after the Marlins experienced a COVID-19 outbreak within their clubhouse and the Nats' series with Miami was postponed. 

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