New York (AFP) - Minor League Baseball officially cancelled its 2020 season on Tuesday, a widely expected move in a year that has seen sport upended by the coronavirus pandemic.
Major League Baseball is finally eyeing a delayed start to a shortened season in July.
But the minor leagues, where prospects develop and major leaguers rehab, won't play at all, leaving thousands of pro baseball players without a team to play for this year.
Some top prospects have been placed on the 60-man rosters for various major league teams as they prepare to begin training camps.
The Detroit Tigers announced Tuesday that they had signed Spencer Torkelson, the top pick in this month's MLB draft, to a minor league deal with a record $8.4 million signing bonus.
He was named to the Tigers' 60-man player pool to begin pre-season training next week, which means he could see major league action before the abbreviated season ends.
"These are unprecedented times for our country and our organization as this is the first time in our history that we've had a summer without minor league baseball played," said Pat O'Conner president of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues, which oversees the minors.
"While this is a sad day for many, this announcement removes the uncertainty surrounding the 2020 season and allows our teams to begin planning for an exciting 2021 season of affordable family entertainment."