MLB teams receive voluminous draft detailing health, safety concerns
If there is safety in numbers, maybe major-league baseball will be able to return this season after all.
As major-league owners and players prepare to resume talks this week in an attempt to get the game going in June with another spring training -- followed by games in July -- health and safety concerns were addressed in a mammoth 67-page draft sent to major-league teams on Friday.
"There is a lot of responsibility put on players and staff to do their part to avoid the virus," Cardinals relief pitcher/MLBPA representative Andrew Miller told USA Today. "The vision for this season is far different than any of us ever imagined we would take part in."
The Associated Press obtained a copy of MLB's proposed 2020 Operations Manual, and there are some eye-opening recommendations to help players stay safe.
Here are some of the highlights:
•MLB teams will be allowed to have 50 players on the roster. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, rosters were locked in at 26 players.
If there is baseball, teams are expected to carry 30 players and have 20 more on a taxi squad.
•Players and team staff members will receive thermometers for self screening and are required to take two readings each morning.
•At the ballpark, players and staff will be given temperature checks twice a day and multiple fluid swabs each week.
The proposal says that anyone testing positive would be immediately quarantined. A player can return, but only after receiving two negative tests taken at least 24 hours apart, showing no symptoms and being approved by team medical personnel.
•Individuals deemed "high risk" have the option to not play.
•Spitting is prohibited, as are high-fives, fist bumps and all other forms of physical celebration.
•Managers, coaches and players are not allowed to touch their face to give signs, and they're not allowed to lick their fingers.
•Players might be asked to show up for games already in uniform, and with expanded rosters probable, they might sit in the stands as well as the dugout during games.
•Fielders are "encouraged to retreat several steps away from the baserunner" between pitches.
•Managers and coaches must wear masks while in the dugouts. The entire traveling party -- including players -- must wear personal protective equipment while on buses and flights.
•Restaurants are off limits on the road, including the ones in hotels. Fitness centers in hotels are also off limits.
"We emphasize that this is a first draft, and will undergo several rounds of changes as we collect comments and suggestions from the clubs, the players' association, players, and government officials," deputy commissioner Dan Halem said in an email to owners, team presidents and CEOs and general managers, according to AP.