The Major League Baseball Players Association submitted new protocols to MLB on Thursday, outlining the additional safety precautions and guidelines they would like to see for the season to resume.
MMLB owners approved an initial plan for an 82-game season starting in July, which outlined several protocols to ensure players’ health during the COVID-19 pandemic. After more than a week of deliberation, the players’ union submitted their revised safety guidelines on Thursday.
Players seek more COVID-19 testing, stronger safety protocols
Under the original proposal, which was not approved by local health officials, MLB anticipated it would need approximately 14,500 tests per week. Under MLB’s guidelines, players would be tested multiple times a week and only players who tested positive for the coronavirus would be quarantined.
According to Joel Sherman of the New York Post, players are seeking an increase in testing frequency to ensure the safety of all team personnel. The players’ union is currently hoping that daily testing for all players, to potentially ease concerns and lighten clubhouse restrictions, would be a possibility.
Players are also asking MLB to provide greater protections for at-risk players or those with families at greater risk of getting COVID-19 due to medical conditions. It was one of the issues raised by Washington Nationals pitcher Sean Doolittle, whose wife Eireann Dolan has a chronic lung condition.
The proposal sent by the players’ union also requested the league to enhance its protocols for positive tests, given they don’t currently follow CDC guidelines, to create sanitization protocols and to have in-stadium medical personnel.
MLBPA seeks less restrictive health measures
While players are pushing for greater testing and safety protocols in the event of a positive test, they also want MLB to ease back on some clubhouse restrictions.
Currently, MLB’s plan would not allow players to shower at the stadium, nor can they use hydrotherapy pools or cryotherapy chambers. Given those are often used by athletes to help recover after games, players are asking MLB to allow for them to be used.
It will likely take some time for MLB and its team owners to go over the proposal from the players’ union. However, both sides are determined to try and bring baseball back and to do it safely.
If MLB and the players’ union can come to an agreement on safety guidelines, then all that will be left is finding a solution for player salaries. Based on recent comments from players, though, that bridge will take far longer to cross.