By Sam Bush

As MLB painfully pursues a reopening after the pandemic pause, one issue may keep some players from joining in:

Underlying physical conditions.

“We would never force them or try to force them to come back to work,” MLB commissioner Rob Manfred told the New York Times. “They can wait until they’re ready to come.”

There are several players with Type 1 diabetes, a history of cancer treatment, colitis or heart conditions. So far, none have said publicly that they would sit out this season.

Jake Diekman, a 33-year-old Oakland Athletics pitcher who was a Phillies reliever from 2012-14, has battled chronic inflammation in his large intestine since childhood and missed most of the 2017 season after the removal of his colon. His wife, Amanda, said on Twitter last month that a return to the game should “not come at my husband’s expense.”

“No offense, but I really don’t care that Bob from wherever is bored at home with no sports and it’d be ‘good for him’ to watch,” Amanda Diekman wrote. Jake Diekman, through his agents, declined to comment.

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