MLB Returns, Timeline, Rules, What Fans Can Expect to See
How would you sum-up the last few months of back-n-fourth negotiations between the Commissioner of Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Union. Childish, senseless, cautious, concerning, reasonable, doubtful, hopeless? Okay, where ever you may stand on the outcome I'm sure you will agree that having the boys of summer back on the field is a good thing.
Now comes the challenges of dealing with the coronavirus. ESPN reports that players will be tested every other day, even if they are asymptomatic, according to the health and safety protocol, which was obtained by ESPN. The behaviors outlined in the protocol -- everything from pitchers using a wet rag to moisten their fingers in lieu of licking them to staff members wearing masks in the dugout -- will change the look and feel of the sport.
Mark Feinsand writing for MLB outlined the upcoming MLB return with these points:
- Pitchers and catchers will report first, followed by position players. Teams will be allowed to invite 60 players to big league camp, with only those players eligible to play during the season. Each team’s 60-man list must be submitted by Sunday afternoon. Teams will have the ability to send up to 20 players who are not on the 40-man roster to an alternate site.
- The designated-hitter rule will be used in both leagues in 2020, part of the league’s health and safety protocols for this season.
- Teams will open the season with a 30-man active roster; it will be reduced to 28 players after two weeks, then to 26 after four weeks.
- The Trade Deadline will be Aug. 31.
- To be eligible for the postseason, a player must be added to the 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 be reduced to a 45-day IL.
- There will be a separate IL for players who either 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 the season was suspended, will end on Friday at 12 p.m. ET.
- 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.).
Players will be paid a full prorated portion of their 2020 salary based on games played, which will equal approximately 37 percent for the full season.