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OC Register: Reports: MLB submits detailed health plan to players in effort to play amid coronavirus

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If Major League Baseball players are to return to action this summer, they will be playing in an environment that looks significantly different from what they left in March.

Aside from the expected diligent testing and temperature checks, the changes include everything from pitchers bringing their own baseballs to the bullpen, wearing masks in the dugout and limitations on spitting.

Players will even be discouraged from taking showers at the ballpark.

It’s all part of a 67-page document that Major League Baseball submitted to the Players Association, detailing the health and safety protocols they propose in order to have the sport return safely amid the coronavirus pandemic. The report was obtained by The Athletic and ESPN, which reported details on Saturday.

MLB has proposed having an abbreviated training period for a few weeks in June, followed by a regional-based 82-game schedule beginning around July 4. The games would be played at the teams’ home ballparks, when allowed by local laws, at least initially with no fans in attendance.

Although eliminating crowds is the primary concession made to the coronavirus pandemic, the plan spells out numerous ways that the players and staff will try to prevent the spread of the virus among themselves.

The plan calls for regular testing of all players, umpires and staff members, mostly using saliva tests. There would also be twice-daily temperature checks. MLB personnel would be asked to perform daily temperature checks at home.

Someone who tests positive would self-isolate at home.

Clubhouses would be restructured to allow six-foot separation between players at their lockers, and in-person meetings would be discouraged.

In dugouts, only active reserves would be permitted, while other inactive players or support staff would sit in the stands or elsewhere. All non-playing personnel would wear masks in dugouts.

There would be no mound visits, no exchanging of lineup cards and no spitting, high-fives, fist-bumps or hugs. Players would be encouraged to wash hands after handling equipment or leaving the field between innings.

Away from the ballpark, players would not be strictly quarantined, but they would be encouraged to isolate from all except their immediate families. They would be discouraged from using any public transportation or ride sharing services.

While all of this is subject to approval by the players, this represents only a portion of the negotiation surrounding the sport’s return.

Owners are also asking players to agree to a 50-50 split of revenue, which likely would mean further reduction in their salaries beyond the pro-rated payments mandated in their March agreement.

The two parties agreed that the players would be paid their normal salaries for whatever percentage of the games are played. However, owners contend that agreement was contingent on games being played with fans. Without fans in the ballparks, the clubs’ revenue would further be slashed and they propose that players bear some of that burden. Players argue that the agreement was not contingent on fans, and should not be renegotiated.

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