Typically, this week would be the start of big-league spring training with pitchers and catchers reporting to camps in Arizona and Florida.
Instead, the MLB lockout has officially bled into spring training, not only threatening to delay the game’s exhibition slate, but also the regular season.
For anybody who hasn’t been driven away from the game to this point, here’s what you need to know to keep your eye on the ball as the work stoppage rolls on.
When was MLB spring training supposed to start?
Only a few teams set official report dates for pitchers and catchers. The Orioles and Rays were scheduled to open their camps on Tuesday.
The Cubs never set an official report date but typically open camp within a couple of days after the first report dates.
When are spring training games scheduled to begin?
The Cubs (vs. Dodgers) and White Sox (vs. A's) are scheduled to open their exhibition slates Feb. 26, but it’s looking increasingly likely the start of Cactus League and Grapefruit League play will be postponed due to the lockout.
Is minor league spring training happening?
The minor league season is not affected by the lockout. Cubs VP of player personnel Matt Dorey told NBC Sports Chicago it's "business as usual" on that side of things.
The Cubs are holding a minor league minicamp starting next week, and minor league spring training is scheduled to begin March 6-7.
Are MLB and the players union close to reaching a new labor agreement?
There’s no indication of that. The union reportedly was underwhelmed by the league’s latest proposal in the two sides’ most recent meeting last Saturday. They remain far apart on key issues, including the biggest issue: the luxury tax.
How soon could spring training begin?
That remains unclear with the league's lockout still in place. However, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said last week he expects it would take less than a week to open camps after a new labor deal is reached.
Will the regular season start on time?
An on-time start to the regular season is further jeopardized each day. Manfred said last week MLB estimates needing four weeks for spring training once a new labor deal is reached.
That puts the final days of February as a de facto deadline for an agreement for the season to start on time. Opening Day is scheduled for March 31.
The union making a counterproposal. They're reportedly set to deliver the league one in a scheduled negotiating session Thursday.
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