Baseball’s back: MLB sets 60-game schedule that opens July 23 or 24

Royals

Salvador Perez #13 of the Kansas City Royals follows through on a swing against the San Diego Padres during the first inning of a spring training game on March 04, 2020 in Peoria, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)

NEW YORK — Major League Baseball issued a 60-game schedule Tuesday night that will start July 23 or 24 in empty ballparks as the sport tries to push ahead amid the coronavirus following months of acrimony. Players will report for training on July 1.

Each team will play 10 games against each of its four division rivals and four games vs. each of the five clubs in the corresponding division in the other league, according to details obtained by The Associated Press.

For the Kansas City Royals, that means 10 games each against the Minnesota Twins, Chicago White Sox, Detroit Tigers and Cleveland Indians and four games each against the St. Louis Cardinals, Chicago Cubs, Cincinnati Reds, Milwaukee Brewers and Pittsburgh Pirates.

A team is scheduled to make only one trip to each city it visits in MLB’s shortest season since 1878.

In a twist, the sides expanded the designated hitter to games involving National League teams and instituted the radical innovation of starting extra innings with a runner on second base.

The number of playoff teams will remain at 10, though that still could change.

The trade deadline will be Aug. 31 and the deadline for postseason eligibility is Sept. 15.

Active rosters will be 30 during the first two weeks of the season, 28 during the second two weeks and 26 after that. They will not expand to 28 on Sept. 1, as originally intended this year.

With no minor leagues, teams would be allowed to retain 60 players each, including a taxi squad. Up to three players from the taxi squad can travel with a team to a game, and one of the three must be a catcher.

MLB is keeping the innovation of the three-batter minimum for pitchers, but decided to keep the injured list minimum for pitchers at 10 days rather than revert to 15, as initially intended. But the new rule remains in place that a pitcher must face at least three batters or finish the half inning.

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