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MLB, players agree to health protocols, but Tigers spring schedule still in limbo

Chris McCosky
The Detroit News

Lakeland, Fla. — Well, it’s not exactly going to be business as usual.

Major League Baseball and the players’ association agreed on some health and safety protocols Monday to help navigate, through the lingering pandemic, a full 162-game schedule.

Major League teams training in Florida, such as the Tigers, will be split up in pods.

Retained from 2020 are seven-inning doubleheaders and the extra-inning rules (starting extra innings with a runner at second base). The designated hitter will be used in the American League only and active rosters, as of right now, will be limited to 26, expanding to 28 on Sept. 1.

Teams will be required to submit a list of 28 players to the league on opening day. The extra two players will be assigned to either Triple A or an alternate site. Teams will be allowed to carry up to five players, including a catcher, on a taxi squad for road games.

Many of the health protocols are similar to what the league put in place last season, including wearing masks, social-distancing measures on and off the field, every other day testing and restrictions in terms of limiting social contact.

This year, though, the two sides agreed to levying fines and possibly suspensions for multiple violations. 

Significantly, players will wear sensors that will help monitor social distancing and help with contact tracing. The sensors were effective during the NBA and NFL seasons.

Presently, Major League Baseball is working on altering the spring training schedule for the 15 teams that train in Florida. The discussed plan was to create separate pods for teams on the west coast and east coast to limit travel and exposure.

There are nine teams located on the west side and five along the east coast. The Tigers are the lone team located in central Florida. Logistically, the Tigers would travel less if they were in the west pod, but that would leave a very unbalanced schedule.

Here are some rules that have been agreed to for spring training:

► Teams can invite no more than 75 players to their spring complexes.

► Spring training will be divided into three phases.

Phase 1, Feb. 17-Feb. 21: Individual and small group workouts (eight players or less).

Phase 2, Feb. 21-Feb.26: Full team workouts, including intrasquad games.

Phase 3, Feb. 27 through the end of March: Exhibition games. Games played through March 13 may be shortened to five or seven innings on the mutual agreement of the managers. Also, innings can be shortened. Games from March 14 on will be nine innings, though they too could be shortened to seven innings by agreement between managers.

The Tigers last week sent out a tentative spring training roster. Besides every player on the 40-man roster, the club also invited these prospects and non-roster players:

Pitchers

LHP Derek Holland

LHP Ian Krol

LHP Miguel Del Pozo

LHP Robbie Ross

RHP Zack Hess 

RHP Gerson Moreno

RHP Erasmo Ramirez 

RHP Nolan Blackwood

RHP Drew Carlton

RHP Ethan DeCaster

RHP Jason Foley

RHP Wladimir Pinto

RHP David McKay

RHP Andrew Moore

RHP Logan Shore

Catchers

Dillon Dingler

Dustin Garneau

Eric Haase

Brady Policelli

Cooper Johnson

Infielders

Kody Clemens

Greg Garcia

Daniel Pinero

Aderlin Rodriguez

Spencer Torkelson

Outfielders

Riley Greene

Jacob Robson

Danny Woodrow

chris.mccosky@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @cmccosky