Major League Baseball and the MLBPA have reached an agreement on health and safety protocols for spring training and the regular season,
According to Keyser, the league will keep seven-inning doubleheaders and the runner on second base in extra innings around during the upcoming campaign. However, there will not be a universal designated hitter in 2021, meaning pitchers will go back to hitting for at least another season as the league and the union negotiate a new collective bargaining agreement before ’22 (Sherman confirms Keyser’s report). Questions about the universal DH have been prominent this offseason and have affected such high-profile free agents as Nelson Cruz (Twins) and Marcell Ozuna (Braves), although those two sluggers have agreed to new contracts in recent days.
The league and the union haven’t been able to agree on much lately, including MLB’s 154-game regular-season proposal for 2021. But there’s at least more clarity on how the upcoming season will look, thanks in part to Monday’s news. Barring any COVID-related changes, spring training will begin on Feb. 17, and a 162-game season will start April 1. However, between now and next winter, MLB and the players still have a lot of ground to make up in order to avoid a work stoppage.