The first week of MLB’s shortened season continues to be unpredictable.
Nick Markakis has changed his mind and now plans to play for the Braves the rest of the season.— Mark Bowman (@mlbbowman) July 29, 2020
Markakis, 36, is the first MLB player to reverse his decision to opt out of the season. He originally decided to opt out in early July, saying at the time that a conversation with teammate Freddie Freeman influenced his decision to sit out the MLB season. Freeman had contracted COVID-19, and spoke with Markakis while he was sick with a fever and other symptoms.
"Just hearing him, the way he sounded on the phone, it was tough," Markakis told ESPN on July 6. "It was kind of eye-opening. With everything that's going on, not just with baseball but all over the world, it makes you open your eyes."
According to Ken Rosenthal and David O’Brien of The Athletic, the decision to opt out “gnawed at” Markakis, and he began to feel like he’d made a “rash decision.”
Markakis said he probably made a rash decision & didn’t necessarily think through things thoroughly. Got a call from Alex Anthopolous a couple days ago explaining his options & wanted to come back to play. #Braves— Kelly Crull (@Kelly_Crull) July 29, 2020
He, like all players who opted out of the season, was on the restricted list and had to apply for reinstatement from MLB.
Markakis has been with the Braves for five seasons, and hit .285/.356/.420 in 2019. The Braves are 2-3 and have been struggling at the plate in the five games they’ve played so far, hitting a collective .216 with 64 strikeouts, the most in MLB.
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