MLB owners vote to proceed with 2020 season

By Frank Pingue

(Reuters) - Major League Baseball said on Monday owners have voted unanimously to proceed with the 2020 season amid the COVID-19 outbreak after the players' union earlier shot down a proposal to play a shortened 60-game campaign.

The vote to reject the proposal by the MLB Players Association sub-committee allows MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred to intervene and set a schedule of his choosing under terms of a March agreement between the two sides.

"In view of this rejection, the MLB clubs have unanimously voted to proceed with the 2020 season under the terms of the March 26th agreement," MLB said in a statement.

To produce a schedule with a specific number of games MLB said it needed confirmation from the union by 5 p.m. ET (2100 GMT) on Tuesday that players can report by July 1 and agree on the safety and health protocols in their operating manual.

MLB was scheduled to open its 162-game regular season in late March but delayed the campaign due to the pandemic.

MLB and the players' union have been trying to find common ground on a return-to-play plan but are unable agree on areas like player compensation and the number of games.

Manfred said two weeks ago he was "100%" sure there would be a 2020 season but dramatically shifted his tone last Monday and said he was "not confident" a campaign would happen after the union broke off talks.

MLBPA said in a statement the board had reaffirmed players' eagerness to return to work as soon and as safely as possible.

"To that end, we anticipate finalizing a comprehensive set of health and safety protocols with Major League Baseball in the coming days, and we await word from the league on the resumption of spring training camps and a proposed 2020 schedule."

(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; editing by Ken Ferris/Peter Rutherford)