On Monday, Major League Baseball released its new occupational health and safety protocols, which include “unique features” such as banning players from spitting and expanding their position as an attacker as the league prepares to open its 2020 season with the Covid-19 pandemic.
MLB said summer camps will open on Wednesday, and all players and staff will have to undergo “medical tests and checks before entering club premises.” Full training will begin on Friday, and games on the opening day are scheduled for July 23 and 24.
In addition, the guidelines for off-field work will be amended during the shortened season. Changes and additions include a designated striker added to the National League for the first time in MLB history. The assigned role of the striker is usually used only in the American League.
Unable to reach an agreement on the games and the pay structure, the MLB and the union of their players agreed on a 60-game season, which will consist of a “game of 40 divisions and 20 Interliga games against the corresponding geographical division,” according to the league. release.
But since plans to open the season this week have been completed, some players decide not to return. On Monday, Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Mike Lick said through his agent that he would not return this year. AP reportedWashington Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman also came out of the season, citing family issues.
Other changes to the 2020 regular season include:
- Extra-inning rule allowing clubs to place runners in second base.
- Inclusion of the rule of a minimum of three batter, according to which pitchers must pass at least three batter before replacing.
- Ban on spitting, including sunflower seeds, peanut shells or tobacco. Chewing gum is allowed.
- Pitchers will be allowed to wear wet rags in their back pockets to use them for moisturizing rather than licking their fingers.
MLB suspended operations on March 12 due to the coronavirus pandemic. The league plans to complete the 2020 season by mid-October.