The MLB Players Association is still in negotiations with the league surrounding a proposed plan for a truncated 2020 season. One of the issues presented to the union by team owners was a 67-page draft of new safety rules for the season, which has reportedly garnered a response from the MLBPA on Thursday.
According to the Wall Street Journal‘s Jared Diamond, the union’s response highlighted the frequency of COVID-19 testing, protocols for those who test positive for the virus, protective measures for higher-risk players and families, medical personnel within ballparks and sanitizing measures.
The league’s initial draft of measures extensively outlined safety protocols for both on and off the field. Players will be encouraged to allow enough distance between themselves on the field and in the dugout, while coaches and managers are to wear masks in the dugout, in addition to all personnel wearing protective gear when traveling. Spitting has been prohibited and further measures were put in place to discourage the use of stadium locker rooms as well as forbid the use of hotel fitness and dining facilities while on the road.
Player safety is said to be just one component of negotiation hurdles, with the other being compensation. Players previously agreed to a prorated salary in March reflecting the amount of games they end up playing, but some have pushed back on the idea of accepting reduced salaries to accommodate for decreased stadium revenue.
If the season proposal is approved by players, games could begin in early July and run through October and possibly early November. Games would be held behind closed doors and scheduled by geographic location to limit travel amongst teams.