Report: MLB teams can play exhibition games before season starts
Major League Baseball teams were told they have the option to play exhibition games before spring training is over, according to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal.
Per Rosenthal, teams can schedule up to three exhibition games before the end of spring training. If there aren’t any potential opponents nearby, they can play the first opponent on their regular season schedule in the days leading up to opening day.
This, presumably, would provide teams with an outlet for simulating competition as authentically as possible before the season gets underway. MLB last week ordered spring training sites to shut down, which has sent teams in exodus from the normal hubs of Arizona and Florida and now scattered across North America.
Teams will begin the regular season with a roster limit of 30 before it winds down to the normal 26 after four weeks. Because of this, there may be less pressure on teams to narrow down their rosters, something normally completed during traditional spring training. Still, exhibitions could be helpful, and general manager Mike Hazen said the unusual format could prompt the D-backs to carry extra starting pitchers in the beginning.
“That will be an option for us if we wanted to do that, yes,” Hazen said. “I’m sure there will be some starters going in maybe or a starter going in behind another starter early, if we had to. Those will be an option for us, as well. With the extra inning rules, we don’t have to be as protective, which is nice, in the early parts of ballgames.”
Another complication in getting players ready for the season is the coronavirus; If players test positive and are forced to be sidelined until they test negative, perhaps it would hinder their ability to properly prepare for games.
The D-backs on Thursday confirmed that multiple members of the organization had tested positive for coronavirus.