Report: MLB considering staggered spring training

Intent on having a minor-league baseball season in 2021 after the 2020 slate was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Major League Baseball will address the situation with a plan to alter spring training, The Athletic reported Friday.

In an attempt to reduce the number of players on hand at one time at spring training sites, MLB’s tentative plan calls for major leaguers and a select number of high-level minor leaguers to participate in spring training on schedule.

After the initial wave of top-level players complete spring training, lower-level minor leaguers would then come to camp to begin preparations for a season. At that point, most minor leaguers will have gone a year and a half without playing a game for their club affiliates.

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Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

While MLB returned to a 60-game regular season in late July, the minor leagues never came back on line and minor league parks around the country were quiet.

The tentative spring training plan could delay the start of the minor league season until May instead of its typical early-April opening. While the intention is for minor league teams to play in their own stadiums, the 2020 plan of keeping players at alternate training sites has not been ruled out.

Minor league players will have to take a wait-and-see approach as a plan, and a possible vaccine for the coronavirus, is developed.

“You’re talking about the future of the game here and you’re talking about players’ careers, they should have a say in all of this, but they don’t,” Garrett Broshuis, an attorney who co-founded the nonprofit Advocate for Minor Leaguers, told The Athletic. “The length of the minor league season, whether there will be a minor league season — the minor league players themselves are impacted by that as much as anyone and they deserve a say in that matter.”

–Field Level Media (@FieldLevelMedia)