Atlanta Braves outfielder Nick Markakis
David Dermer-USA TODAY Sports

Atlanta Braves outfielder Nick Markakis was one of the first MLB players to opt-out of the 2020 MLB season. The 2018 All-Star slugger will now be the first player to opt back in, following a change of heart.

Nick Markakis will return to Atlanta Braves, opts in for 2020 season

Markakis announced on July 6 that he would sit out the 2020 season following a conversation with teammate Freddie Freeman, who was dealing with COVID-19.

After watching his team play without him for a few days, the itch to be on the diamond returned and the 36-year-old decided he wanted to return this year.

Many assumed MLB’s rules forbid players from exercising their opt-out clause and then returning. However, per The Athletic, there is a process within the league’s rules that allow a player who is placed on the restricted list to apply for reinstatement before Aug. 1.

The news will certainly be welcomed by the Braves. Atlanta needed outfield depth after it terminated its contract with Yasiel Puig following his positive COVID-19 test. With Markakis now working his way back, Atlanta retains a hitter who posted a .776 OPS in 2019 and is beloved in the clubhouse.