Aug. 2 (UPI) -- New York Mets outfielder and designated hitter Yoenis Cespedes has opted out of the 2020 MLB season after he failed to report to Truist Park in Atlanta for Sunday's game against the Braves.
Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen announced Cespedes' decision after the team's 4-0 loss to the Braves. He told reporters the former All-Star slugger decided to sit out over "COVID-related issues" and that the club hadn't previously known whether he would opt out.
"We support everybody and every player's right to make this type of decision," Van Wagenen said. "This is a challenging time for everyone. It was surprising, without question. At the same point, we have to go forward and not allow anything to keep us from going forward."
Van Wagenen said he learned of Cespedes' plan to opt out from the player's agent during Sunday's game against the Braves. The team sent security officials to Cespedes' hotel room, but he wasn't there and his belongings were gone.
Earlier Sunday, the Mets released a statement in which Van Wagenen said they could not get in contact with Cespedes, causing concern among the club and fans.
"He did not reach out to management with any explanation for his absence," Van Wagenen said. "Our attempts to contact him have been unsuccessful."
Following the game, Van Wagenen said he was glad Cespedes was safe, "because there's a period of time where we weren't sure." He also called Cespedes' choice to leave the team a "disappointing end" to his four-year contract with the Mets.
Cespedes is set to become an unrestricted free agent after the 2020 season.
The 34-year-old slugger was the designated hitter for the Mets' 7-1 loss to the Braves on Saturday, going 0-for-4 with two strikeouts. He served as the club's designated hitter in eight games this year, posting a .161 batting average (5-for-31) with 15 strikeouts.
Cespedes, a two-time All-Star selection, made his return to the lineup this season for the first time since July 2018. He missed a majority of the last two years because of a series of leg injuries.