Doolittle 'not entirely' sure he'll play 2020 season


Washington Nationals closer Sean Doolittle said he is leaning toward playing the 2020 season but is not committed to playing during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Doolittle, who previously raised concerns about player's health and safety, told ABC7's Scott Abraham he has concerns about playing in 2020 on the day many Nationals reported to the ballpark to begin Spring Training 2.0 before the 60-game season. 

"It feels weird, man. Lotta mixed emotions," Doolittle told Abraham. "I'm super excited to be back, and I'm really looking forward to seeing my teammates, but the situation we're in with the pandemic and how it's affecting other cities around the country, cities that Major League Baseball is gonna be playing in, there's still a lot that we have to figure out and we don't have a lot of time to figure it out in."

When asked if he was sure he would play, Doolittle took a long pause before he said, "Not entirely."

"I'm here, so I'm very much leaning toward playing," he said. "And that's the way I have prepared, mentally and physically, during the break."

One of the reasons for Doolittle's reticence about playing is his wife, Eireann Dolan, who has a chronic lung condition which means she has an elevated risk for developing complications if infected with COVID-19. If Doolittle decides to play it would likely mean the couple would have to separate for the entirety of the season. 

"My wife and I, we think we've come up with a plan for her to stay with some family in the area so that she's relatively close if anything should happen, at least she won't be halfway across the country," he said. 

Is Doolittle convinced baseball can work during the pandemic? "No. No, I'm not." 

"The thing is we don't know," he added. "There's so much we don't know (like) how it's going to affect the cities and the players play in."

EXCLUSIVE - "You know what, not entirely. I'm here. I'm very much leaning toward playing.I talked to @whatwouldDOOdo outside of Nats Park today.His wife is high risk, so he's still not sure if he's going to play this year.More tonight on @ABC7News

— Scott Abraham (@ScottABC7) July 1, 2020

EXCLUSIVE - "Where does baseball fall in the public response to this"In more of my interview with @whatwouldDOOdo, he expressed his concerns about playing baseball in this COVID-19 world.Powerful thoughts from the Nats reliever.More tonight on @ABC7News

— Scott Abraham (@ScottABC7) July 1, 2020

Later Wednesday, Dolan explained her concerns on Twitter.

I shouldn’t have to disclose my own medical history to the public, but I’m tired of these garbage responses we’ve gotten. I have a chronic lung condition. The first time I had viral pneumonia as a result of it, I was 9 years old. I was hospitalized for weeks and put on oxygen.

— Eireann Dolan (@EireannDolan) July 2, 2020

We are lucky to be in a position that allows me to move out during this season so Sean doesn’t risk my health to play. But if you think a player considering opting out to protect family is somehow weak or unmanly, I invite you to kiss the entirety of my ass. Have a blessed day.

— Eireann Dolan (@EireannDolan) July 2, 2020

Earlier this week, Nationals' Ryan Zimmerman and Joe Ross decided to opt out of the season, with Zimmerman citing his family's health. 

"After a great deal of thought and given my family circumstances - three young children, including a newborn, and a mother at high risk - I have decided not to participate in the 2020 season," Zimmerman said in a statement.

Follow @BenKrimmel and @1067theFan on Twitter.