Exhibition games start Feb 24 as MLB hopes for normal spring

Sports

NEW YORK (AP) — Major League Baseball’s exhibition season will begin Feb. 24 in Arizona when San Diego hosts Seattle in Peoria and Kansas City takes on Texas in Surprise, the start of what could be the first normal spring training since 2019.

All 30 teams are scheduled to play Feb. 25 as games start in Florida, the commissioner’s office said Wednesday.

Spring training was cut short in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Workouts were restricted the following year due to coronavirus protocols, and stadium capacity was limited to 1,000 to 3,630 per game.

Spring training workouts in 2022 were to have started on Feb. 16 but were delayed until March 11 by a 99-day lockout. The start of spring training games was pushed back from Feb. 25 to March 17 and teams were limited to a schedule of 17-18 exhibition games. Opening day was rescheduled from March 31 to April 7.

Next year’s voluntary reporting date is Feb. 15 for pitchers, catchers and injured players and Feb. 20 for other players, but pitchers and catchers preparing for the World Baseball Classic have a mandatory reporting date of Feb. 13, with position players arriving three days later. The mandatory reporting date for everyone else is Feb. 25.

Exhibition games involving World Baseball Classic teams will be played on March 8 and 9, and spring training games at regular-season ballparks are scheduled from March 26- 28.

Opening day is scheduled for March 30.

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