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MLB players, owners agree on health & safety protocols, July 1st spring training report date

MLB is making progress toward a late July return. We break down the latest news.

Arizona Diamondbacks v San Francisco Giants

UPDATE 8:45 p.m.: The MLB Players Association tweeted that all remaining issues have been resolved and players are reporting to camp.

UPDATE: According to multiple baseball media members, a deal has been reached on health & safety protocols. Spring training will start on July 1st, players will report before then for Covid-19 testing, and the season will start the weekend of July 24th. The league will develop a schedule in the next 72 hours, according to Nightengale.

It appears almost settled that Major League Baseball will return the weekend of July 24th. The MLB Players Association is working with the owners to sort out health and safety protocols, but the players informed the owners they’ll be ready on the owners’ timeline for starting the season, according to USA Today reporter Bob Nightengale.

The players rejected the owners final offer and told the owners to implement their preferred scheduled as agreed upon in March. Commissioner Rob Manfred conveyed to the union plans for a 60-game season if the players a) could report to spring training locations by July 1st and b) come to terms with the owners on health and safety protocols. Nightengale tweeted the two sides are sorting through protocols and there are currently “no major snags.”

One big question to be sorted out is where spring training will take place. The Yankees and Mets are relocating to New York City for spring training following the surge in Florida Covid-19 cases. This comes following the Phillies and Blue Jays shutting down their Florida facilities following positive cases. It seems a decent bet more teams choose to conduct spring training in their home facility. They can avoid two states (Florida and Arizona) where Covid-19 is surging and extra travel from their spring training facility back to their home city.