Atlanta Braves outfielder Nick Markakis has decided to play this season after originally opting out due to coronavirus concerns. According to The Athletic's David O'Brien and Ken Rosenthal, he "felt as if he had let the team down" while watching the Braves kick off their season on TV.
The three-time Gold Glover and former Orioles first-round pick has spent the last five seasons in Atlanta. At 36 years old, there was a chance Markakis was passing on what might've been his final year in the majors-though he gave no indication that he had plans of retiring.
Markakis originally announced July 6 that he would be opting out of the season, citing a desire to be with his family amid the pandemic. He then reportedly navigated a three-week appeal process before being reinstated by Major League Baseball. Though no timetable has been given for his return, he'll soon be rejoining a Braves team that's started off just 2-3 this season.
When Markakis opted out, the Braves worked out a deal with Yasiel Puig to help fill out their outfield death. However, Puig tested positive for COVID-19 upon his arrival and the deal fell through. Atlanta then signed utility man Matt Adams, who's gone 5-18 (.176 batting average) to start the year.
Picked seventh overall by the Orioles in 2003, Markakis played nine years in Baltimore before signing as a free agent with the Braves in 2014. He's a lifetime .288 hitter who ranks third among active players with 2,355 hits.
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