MESA, Ariz. — Chicago Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo is departing spring training for his home in Parkland, Florida, to offer support in the wake of a deadly shooting at his former high school.
Rizzo was traveling Thursday, the team said. He had been an early arrival in Arizona, where Chicago's position players are set to report Monday ahead of the club's first full-squad workout. He is expected back by then.
Rizzo, a 2007 graduate of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School where the shooting took place Wednesday, donated $150,000 to his alma mater in November to help toward lights for the baseball and softball fields. His parents still live in the area.
Rizzo tweeted his support , saying, "Parkland and Coral Springs please stay strong!" and "This is out of control ... and our country is in desperate need for change."
He added, "I hope In this darkest of times back home this brings everyone together and we can find love. You're all in my prayers" Rizzo ended the post with two emoji of hands together in prayer.
From spring training in Arizona, teammate Kris Bryant talked to the media about Rizzo's trip back home and what's it like when a mass shooting happens in your hometown. Bryant is from Las Vegas, where a gunman opened fire at a concert in October, killing 58 people:
"October first in Vegas was such a terrible day, with a lot of my friends and family being involved in that. My sister-in-law was there, just a lot of people I knew. Obviously you wish those things did not happen, but the community coming together after that and me being there this off-season and just seeing 'Vegas Strong' everywhere, it's made me so proud to be from Las Vegas that everybody in the community came together, and just to see the good of people really come out and how many people came out to support, and all the good stuff that's come from it, and it's just been so great to see our community come together. I know Anthony will have a big influence in that in Florida, but it's so sad for it to be so sad and so new. I can't imagine what some of those people are going through."