San Francisco Giants star catcher Buster Posey will not play in the upcoming MLB season, he announced on Friday.
Posey, the 2012 National League MVP, is the latest high-profile player to opt out of a campaign that has been shortened by the coronavirus pandemic.
The 33-year-old told reporters on a conference call he and his wife have adopted twin girls that were born prematurely and are still hospitalised, making him uncomfortable taking any additional health risks that could come about from travelling and playing games.
The six-time All-Star had missed three recent team workouts for what the Giants said were personal reasons.
"I just feel like in the current state we are now, and these babies being as fragile as they are for the next four months at minimum, this ultimately was not a difficult decision for me," Posey said.
A team statement said: "The Giants fully supports Buster's decision. Buster is an integral part of our team and will be sorely missed, but we look forward to having him back in 2021."
Posey will forfeit around $8million of his prorated salary by choosing not to play. He is under contract in 2021 with the Giants holding a $22m club option for 2022.
He joins Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher David Price, Colorado Rockies outfielder Ian Desmond, outfielder Nick Markakis and pitcher Felix Hernandez of the Atlanta Braves, infielder Ryan Zimmerman and pitcher Joe Ross of the Washington Nationals, and Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Mike Leake as notable players who have chosen to opt out.
Posey is coming off the worst offensive season of his 11-year career, batting .257 with seven home runs and 38 RBIs in 114 games, but is the only catcher on the Giants' 40-man roster with extensive major league experience.
San Francisco do have a top prospect at the position in Joey Bart, but the 23-year-old has never played above Double-A.