Phew, let’s all catch our breath, take a step back, and try to digest what has happened over the last 48 hours in baseball. Oh, by the way, welcome to 2020!
As we are finding out more details about the upcoming season, we wanted to share the latest information with you.
Player health and safety is at the top of mind right now as we are in the middle of a health pandemic. With that said, here are the two ways that Major League Baseball is going to ensure the health and safety of the players:
- All players will undergo COVID-19 testing upon arrival to Spring Traning on Jul. 1 and will begin workouts if they test negative. During Spring Training, the regular season and playoffs, players, coaches, and support staff will occur every other day. Anyone that gets tested positive will be quarantined and will require two negative tests to return to playing status. Players will also receive temperature/symptom checks at least twice per day, and antibody testing will be conducted approximately once per month.
- In addition to COVID-19 testing every other day, some other health precautions are as follows: Team personnel and players not likely to participate in the game (for example, the next day’s starting pitcher) will be sitting in the stands or another area designated by the club, at least six feet apart; non-playing personnel will wear masks in dugout and bullpen at all times; no spitting or chewing tobacco (gum is permitted); no celebratory contact (high-fives, fist bumps, hugs, etc.).
Spring Training 2.0
Spring Training 2.0 is reportedly going to start on Wednesday, Jul. 1, with the vast majority of teams reporting to their home ballparks. Recent spikes in both Florida and Arizona have caused all 30 spring facilities to close down for deep cleaning.
According to MLB Network’s Jon Heyman, the baseball schedule is based on the geographic location of the teams and divided into 40 divisional games and 20 interleague games. For example, for the Washington Nationals, the following are going to be their opponents:
- Atlanta Braves
- New York Mets
- Miami Marlins
- Philadephia Phillies
- Baltimore Orioles
- Boston Red Sox
- New York Yankees
- Tampa Bay Rays
- Toronto Blue Jays
Here are the new rule changes for the upcoming 2020 season, according to MLB.com
- Designated-hitter rule is in effect in both leagues in 2020, part of the league’s health and safety protocols for this season.
- Transactions freeze ends this Friday at noon ET
- To be eligible for the postseason, a player must be on the team’s Major League roster by Sept. 15.
- Teams will be permitted to carry up to three taxi-squad players on the road during the season, though if a team carries three such players, one must be a catcher.
- During extra-inning games in the regular season, each half-inning will begin with a runner on second base. The batter who made the final out in the previous inning (or a pinch-runner for that batter) would be that runner.
- There will be a 10-day injured list for both pitchers and hitters, though the 60-day IL will reduce to a 45-day IL.
- There will be a separate IL for players who test positive or have symptoms/confirmed exposure to COVID-19. There is no maximum or minimum days for this IL.
- MLB’s transaction freeze, which has been in place since March, will end on Friday at noon ET.
Well, buckle up and enjoy the bumpy ride that is baseball in a COVID-19 world.