Dr. Fauci takes a break from fighting the pandemic to throw the first pitch of the MLB season

Dr. Anthony Fauci throws the ceremonial first pitch before the game between the Washington Nationals and New York Yankees on opening day of the 2020 baseball season. By Leah Asmelash, CNN

(CNN) -- Dr. Anthony Fauci is many things, most notably the country's top infectious disease expert and a highly trusted figure during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

As of Thursday, he can add pitcher to his lengthy curriculum vitae.

Fauci threw the ceremonial first pitch of the 2020 Major League Baseball season before the first game between the Washington Nationals and the New York Yankees.

He took the mound at Nationals Park wearing a Nationals cap, jersey and, of course, face mask. The face mask highlighted that the Nationals are the defending World Series champions.

But the 79-year-old Fauci is a better doctor than pitcher as the right-hander threw high and quite wide of the plate.

"Dr. Fauci has been a true champion for our country during the COVID-19 pandemic and throughout his distinguished career, so it is only fitting that we honor him as we kick off the 2020 season and defend our World Series Championship title," the Nationals said ahead of the game, in a statement to MLB.com.

It's a fitting game for Fauci to be throwing the first pitch. He was born in New York but now lives in the Washington area for his day job as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

His appearance came after a tense stretch with President Donald Trump during which the White House sought to discredit him as he became increasingly vocal about his concerns over reopening the country.

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