It remains unclear when exactly Major League Baseball will begin its 2020 season, but it looks like the league is close to proposing a plan.
ESPN's Jeff Passan reported Wednesday that MLB is expected to present a plan to the MLB Players Association within the next week. The belief is that the league hopes to return to action for a second spring training in June, followed by Opening Day in early July. Some teams have already instructed their players to get ready and get in shape, per Passan.
While a significant number of hurdles remain and some industry leaders believe June and July return dates are optimistic, the approval of ownership on a plan and dialogue about specifics with the union would mark two vital steps in baseball's return from a season so far delayed six weeks by the coronavirus pandemic.
General managers and managers from at least a dozen teams have reached out to players and suggested they ramp up baseball activities, those familiar with the conversations -- including executives, players and agents -- told ESPN. Some teams have suggested players prepare for a spring training that would begin as early as June 10 and a season that would begin July 1, dates first suggested publicly by former player Trevor Plouffe. Other teams, sources said, are being more general in their timetables, understanding the complications that hard dates can cause and wanting instead to nudge players toward being in game shape.
Last month, there were rumors about MLB having the entire season play out in Arizona. But now, Passan notes "there is momentum" toward the league having games played in home stadiums.
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There are plenty of financial and safety hurdles for MLB as it attempts to begin its long-awaited season. While it's encouraging that MLB is close to formulating a plan, it likely will take some time to work out some of the issues with the MLBPA.
Report: MLB to offer return-to-play proposal to MLBPA within week originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston