Philadelphia Phillies shortstop Didi Gregorius will wear a facemask during games this season because of a kidney condition that makes him high risk, the veteran infielder said Wednesday, according to Matt Breen of The Philadelphia Inquirer.
"I still have it, and it will be there for life," Gregorius said of the condition he was diagnosed with while playing in the minor leagues.
Gregorius will wear the protective covering in the field and during at-bats. He said he's taking the proper precautions after daily check-ins with team doctors.
"We are trying to go through the guidelines and trying to do everything we can do to stay safe," he said. "So, that's why people see me walking around with a mask on and stuff. I am keeping myself safe, wearing a mask everywhere I go. So, I have to keep it on me all the time."
The kidney ailment hasn't sidelined Gregorius since he was forced to miss two months during the 2011 minor-league season.
Because the 30-year-old is considered high risk, he could have opted out of the 2020 campaign and received $5.18 million, which is the full pro-rated portion of his $14-million salary. Instead, the impending free agent decided to find a mask he feels comfortable wearing while playing and plans on remaining extra cautious during the pandemic.
"I think it adds safety for everybody, for me and people around me," he said of wearing a mask. "So, I think wearing it will be normal for me."
Gregorius signed a one-year pact with the Phillies in December after spending the past five seasons with the New York Yankees.