MLB Plans 60-Game Slate, Shortest Since 1878

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NEW YORK (AP) – Major League Baseball plans to unilaterally issue a 60-game schedule for its shortest season since 1878 after the players’ association rejected a negotiated deal of the same length, putting the sport on track for a combative and possibly unhappy return to the field amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Six days after baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred and union head Tony Clark negotiated to expand the playoffs from 10 teams to 16, widen the use of the designated hitter to National League games and introduce an experiment to start extra innings with a runner on second base, the deal was rejected by the union.

MLB asked the union to respond by 5 p.m. EDT today as to whether players can report to training by July 1 and whether the players’ association will agree on the operating manual of health and safety protocols.

The schedule would be the shortest since the National League’s third season.

Given the need for three days of virus testing and 21 days of workouts, the opening day would likely be during the final week of July.

MLB already has started to investigate charter flights that could bring players back from Latin America, another person told the AP, also on condition of anonymity because no announcements were made.

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