MLB Weekly Digest June 29th Edition: MLB Establishes Return for 2020 Campaign

MLB Weekly Digest June 29th Edition: MLB Establishes Return for 2020 Campaign

The last week in MLB was about the league and the MLBPA reaching an agreement for a 2020 season, the league implementing extensive COVID-19 testing protocols, and there will be a universal designated hitter and changes for extra-inning games for the 2020 campaign.

MLB Establishes 2020 Return, Both Sides Agree to Health Protocols

There will be baseball this season.

Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association reached an agreement last week on health and safety protocols for a 60-game season.

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred released a statement saying, “We have provided the players’ association with a schedule to play 60 games and are excited to provide our great fans with baseball again soon.”

The camps for clubs will open July 1, with most teams having camps at their home ballparks.

The players for the Toronto Blue Jays have been told to prepare for travel to Toronto for spring training at Rogers Centre, per Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.

The club began packing up equipment yesterday at their facility in Dunedin, Florida to ship it north to Rogers Centre.

It is expected an official confirmation of them having spring training at Rogers Centre will happen later this coming week, per Rob Longley of the Toronto Sun.

There will be a three-phase spring training plan, per Chris Cotillo of MassLive.

The first phase is individual small group workouts, the second phase is larger or full-team workouts, and a third phase is a limited number of spring training games against other teams.

Cotillo also mentioned the trade deadline would be moved to Aug. 31, 30-man rosters to begin the season, and three days before spring training, teams would be required to submit a list designating the 60 players who will be part of their “player pool” of eligible participants in the season.

Spring training will officially begin July 3 (after COVID-19 test) with players arriving no later than July 1, per Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY.

Opening Day will take place on July 24 for 26 of the 30 teams, with the other four teams expected to play in nationally televised games on July 23 to open the 2020 season and the regular season will end Sept. 27, says Nightengale.

The 60-game schedule will be the shortest for MLB since 1878, and it will be based on regional alignment.

Each club will face its divisional opponents 40 times, including another 20 interleague games against geographic divisional counterparts.

One example is American League East teams will play 20 games against the National League East.

The standard 10-day injured list will remain intact, but the 60-day IL will be changed to 45 days.

There will be a separate IL for players dealing with the COVID-19, and it will not come with a minimum or maximum length, per Joel Sherman of the New York Post.

The players must complete a COVID-19 education program before arriving at spring training, per Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle.

It’s terrific news there will be baseball this year, and hopefully, they can play the full 60 games.

MLB Implementing Extensive COVID-19 Testing Protocols

Major League Baseball will implement extensive COVID-19 testing for players and team employees, according to an operations manual obtained by Ken Rosenthal and Evan Drellich of The Athletic.

The process will be broken up into three phases – prescreening, arrival screening, and regular monitoring – with most diagnostic testing done through saliva.

The “covered individuals” will submit a questionnaire regarding symptoms and exposure a few days before arrival.

Then, they will be subject to a temperature check and a saliva or nose-swab test for diagnosis as well as a blood test for antibodies.

After that, the individuals will have their temperatures and symptoms tested at least twice daily.

All uniformed employees, including trainers and physical therapists, will undergo saliva tests every other day.

If someone has a temperature above 100.4 degrees, they will not be allowed to enter a ballpark and be required to self-isolate.

Anyone who tests positive must remain in daily contact with the team from a remote location, as they will not be allowed to travel with or be around covered individuals.

They will have to test negative twice at least 24 hours apart, show no signs of a fever for 72 hours, and take an antibody test to return.

Other safety protocols will involve a ban on spitting, smokeless tobacco, and sunflower seeds.

Physical contact must be avoided, and regular hand washing will be mandated.

It’s an extensive set of health protocols, but they are needed to keep the players and team employees safe.

MLB Adopting Universal Designated Hitter, Changing Extra-Inning Rules for 2020 Campaign

There will be significant changes when baseball returns as both the AL & NL will be operating under the same rules.

The NL will have the designated hitter for the first time, per Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY.

The AL first had the DH in 1973, but apart from interleague and World Series games in AL stadiums, the NL did not add the DH.

MLB is also changing its rules for extra-inning games, according to Nightengale.

All games that are tied after nine innings will begin with a runner on second base beginning in the tenth.

The rule change is intended to speed up games that extend over nine frames.

The idea of having the DH in the NL and a runner on second base in extra-inning games could be an interesting experiment in a 60-game campaign.

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Chris Lacey
Chris is a 25-year old New Jersey native whose favorite sports team is the Arizona Diamondbacks. He previously attended Western New England College to study Sports Management. Chris has been following the Diamondbacks since he was 12. You can find him on Twitter [email protected]

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