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MLB Allows Instructional Camps To Proceed



Play ball.

After a lost minor league season, players will finally get a chance in a few weeks to get some much-needed, in-person development.

Major League Baseball issued a memo on Tuesday to club executives to inform them that fall instructional programs—including games against other clubs—will be permitted this season, starting no earlier than Sept. 18. The camps may be held at the team’s alternate training site, the team’s spring training facility, or both.

To use the alternate training site, the facility must no longer be in use for a club’s player pool or postseason.

In order to begin their camp, a team must submit health and safety protocols to the league and have them approved.

Among other stipulations, the plan must include the number of players who will be in camp, the number of players who will be at the facilities at any one time, a plan to test players for COVID-19 at least twice per week, a testing provider approved by the commissioner’s office, the dates the program will run, and details regarding housing and food services.

Players who qualify for the camp cannot be on a team’s 40-man roster (with exceptions to be granted by the league on a case-by-case basis). Moreover, unlike normal instructional league, minor league players who participate in the camps must be paid at a rate stipulated by their uniform player contract based on the level they most likely would have played during the regular minor league season.

Teams must also provide housing and meal allowances in a fashion similar to what they would do during a normal instructional camp scenario.

The instructional league will also potentially get pro scouts, who have been working remotely since the shutdown (if they were not furloughed or laid off), off the bench. In-person scouting is permitted during these games, but teams can choose to bar other clubs’ scouts from its facility. If a team bans opposing scouts from its camp, it may not send its own scouts to other clubs' camps.

Scouts must also conform to health and safety protocols to help minimize the risk of the spread of the coronavirus.

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