Three months after the season opener was officially postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, MLB and the Major League Baseball Players Association have finalized the details ahead of a return to play, which will see players report to camps July 1 and the season officially open on July 23 or 24 to empty stadiums.
On Tuesday, ESPN's Jeff Passan reported that the union accepted a proposal for a 60-game regular season that includes players reporting for spring training 2.0 sessions by July 1:
The Major League Baseball Players Association has agreed to report to training camps by July 1 and play a 60-game season, sources tell ESPN, but deal is not finalized yet.— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) June 23, 2020
One last health-and-safety hurdle to get over and Major League Baseball will be back a week from tomorrow.
Earlier in the day, Chris Cotillo of MassLive.com tweeted that the pandemic-shortened season will include altered rules such as a universal designated hitter and also a runner starting every extra inning frame on second base:
Proposed MLB rule changes for 2020:— Chris Cotillo (@ChrisCotillo) June 23, 2020
* Implementation of DH in both leagues
* Extra innings start with runner on second base
* No limits on position players pitching
* Pitchers can have wet rag in pocket as substitute for licking fingers
* Three-batter minimum still stands
Some health and safety proposals from MLB's latest plan (6/20):— Chris Cotillo (@ChrisCotillo) June 23, 2020
* Temperature/symptom checks twice per day
* COVID tests every other day during spring, regular season and postseason
* Antibody testing about once per month
* High-risk players can opt out
* No pregame exchange of lineup cards— Chris Cotillo (@ChrisCotillo) June 23, 2020
* Social distancing encouraged on field
* Pitchers bring own rosin bag to mound
* Non-playing personnel wear masks in dugout/bullpen at all times
* Spitting prohibited, but chewing gum is allowed
* Fights are strictly prohibited
The MLBPA later announced on its official Twitter account Tuesday evening that all remaining issues had been resolved.
All remaining issues have been resolved and Players are reporting to training camps.— MLBPA Communications (@MLBPA_News) June 24, 2020
After the union rejected a 60-game plan on Monday, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reported the regular season likely wouldn't begin before July 26. ESPN's Buster Olney added some players may refuse to report, but that was before Tuesday's developments.