Baseball hoping for start in early June

Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association are hoping to start a season that has been in limbo because of the COVID-19 pandemic in early June, according to a report from ESPN’s Jeff Passan.

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MLB and the players union hope the season can start in June.

MLB and the players union hope the season can start in June.

Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association are hoping to start a season that has been in limbo because of the COVID-19 pandemic in early June, according to a report from ESPN’s Jeff Passan.

The hope is to play as many games as possible, although less optimistic scenarios still exist, including the possibility of a later start and even the possibility of a “doomsday scenario” where no games are played at all. All of those, as well as the potential complicated juggling of player salaries, service time issues and payment to minor league players have been discussed, according to the report.

MLB and the MLBPA have acknowledged the likelihood of a shortened season, per the report, hoping play begins in early June with players receiving prorated salaries based on number of games played. Players have told ESPN they’d be willing to play as many as two doubleheaders a week to get as close to a full 162-game schedule as possible.

Toronto Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins suggested seven-inning doubleheaders would be a way of squeezing in more games without exhausting pitching staffs, which typically include 13 pitchers, five of them starters. The minor leagues and colleges play seven-inning games in doubleheaders.

“Maybe that’s something we have to consider,” Atkins, a former minor league pitcher, said on a conference call Wednesday.

Still, even Atkins isn’t entirely sold on the idea, which Rockies manager Bud Black floated last week as a possible solution to fit more games into a shorter window.

“You’re not playing the game that is written in the rulebooks,” Atkins said. “It’s not the regulation game, it’s a different game. Bullpens and teams are built in a way to play nine innings. I’m sure there are people that would challenge that and I’m not so sure it’s something we should do.”

Expanded playoff scenarios have been discussed, some of which would take the regular season into October with playoff games in November, perhaps at neutral warm weather sites or domed stadiums.

The regular season was scheduled to begin Thursday. The White Sox were supposed to host the Royals at Guaranteed Rate Field and the Cubs were slated to open against the Brewers in Milwaukee.

Contributing: Associated Press


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