By Mike DiGiovanna
Los Angeles Times
Players signed off on Major League Baseball’s health and safety protocols and agreed to report to training camps at their home stadiums by July 1 in preparation for a pandemic-shortened regular season of 60 games.
“All remaining issues have been resolved and players are reporting to training camps,” the MLB Players Assn tweeted early Tuesday evening.
The regular season is expected to start July 23 or July 24 without fans and run through late September.
The postseason is expected to remain at 10 teams — the sides had discussed an increase to a 16-team field — but the designated hitter could be added to the National League in an effort to protect pitcher health.
The agreement will allow any player who is considered high-risk for severe complications due to COVID-19 to opt out of the season and still collect his salary and service time.
According to one report, MLB agreed to the union’s proposal that all players who co-habitate with a high-risk individual, including a pregnant spouse, have the right to opt out and be paid while receiving service time. The wife of Angels star Mike Trout, a three-time American League most valuable player, is due to have the couple’s first child in August.
The usual 162-game, six-month marathon will be replaced by a 60-game, two-month sprint that could allow a lesser team to ride a hot streak into the playoffs.
A greater sense of urgency will be attached to each game, each series, each week, in a shortened season, forcing managers to be aggressive in how they use their bullpens and less patient with struggling hitters.