Here are all the rule changes, roster limits, safety measures, more in MLB’s 101-page manual

Breaking down all important details from MLB’s 101-page 2020 operations manual

A view of an empty Detroit Tigers dugout during a game against the Texas Rangers at Comerica Park on May 6, 2016 in Detroit, Michigan. The Rangers defeated the Tigers 5-1. (Mark Cunningham, MLB Photos via Getty Images)

There are hundreds of changes in place for the 2020 MLB season, including adjustments to the actual playing rules, strict protocols for who can enter each room of a team facility, unique roster limits and a new schedule format.

RELATED: Top 47 rule, roster and schedule changes to know before the 2020 MLB season

After reading through the entire 101-page MLB operations manual for this coronavirus (COVID-19) shortened season, here are all the important details.

Regular season and playoff in-game rule changes

  • All teams will be allowed to use a designated hitter to prevent pitchers from batting.
  • During the regular season only, all extra innings will begin with a runner on second base.
    • The runner on second base will be the player who bats ahead of the hitter leading off the inning, unless teams substitute for that player by pinch running or a defensive replacement.
    • If the player who bats ahead of the hitter leading off the inning is the pitcher, then the player who bats before the pitcher will be the runner on second base.
    • In terms of official scoring, the runner on second base will not count as an earned run against a pitcher if he scores. It will be scored as if the runner starting the inning on second base got there via error.
  • Position players are allowed to pitch at any point in the game -- baseball had previously proposed a new rule that position players could only pitch in extra innings or with a six-run score difference.
  • Pitchers can carry a small wet rag in their pocket to be used for moisture, instead of licking their fingers. Water is the only substance allowed on the rag. Pitchers can’t use the rag while on the rubber and have to clearly wipe their fingers dry before touching the ball or the rubber. Umpires are allowed to check rags at any point.
  • Games that get suspended or postponed in under five innings can pick up where they left off, instead of restarting from the beginning.
  • The new three-batter minimum rule for pitchers will be enforced.
  • Rules preventing unnecessary physical contact will be enforced.
    • Players and managers should socially distance from umpires and opposing players on the field whenever possible.
    • Players or managers who leave their positions to argue with umpires or come within six feet of an umpire or opposing player for the purpose of an argument can be immediately ejected and disciplined, including fines and suspensions.
    • Anyone involved in altercations on the field can be immediately ejected and disciplined, including fines and suspensions.
    • Fighting and instigating fights is strictly prohibited. Players can’t be physical contact with others for any reason unless it happens in the normal flow of the game. Violations will result in severe discipline.

Changes to spring training rules

  • Defensive managers can end an inning before three outs are recorded as long as it’s not in the middle of a plate appearance and a pitcher has thrown at least 25 pitches.
  • Games can end in a tie.
  • All teams will be allowed to use designated hitters
  • Pitchers can re-enter games after being taken out.
  • Pitchers can carry a small wet rag in their pocket to be used for moisture, instead of licking their fingers. Water is the only substance allowed on the rag. Pitchers can’t use the rag while on the rubber and have to clearly wipe their fingers dry before touching the ball or the rubber. Umpires are allowed to check rags at any point.
  • The new three-batter minimum rule for pitchers will be enforced.

Spring training: Phases, rosters

  • Each team can invite up to 60 players who are under contract to spring training.
  • Spring training will have three phases:
    1. Individual and small group workouts: Five players or fewer are assigned times and areas to work out around the complex.
    2. Larger or full-team workouts: Team workouts should still be broken down into smaller groups when possible. Larger group workouts and intra-squad games are allowed in this phase.
    3. Spring training games: A limited number of spring training exhibition games will be played against other teams.
  • Spring training reporting dates should be staggered for players and other workers, and nobody will be allowed to report before their assigned date. Here’s the order in which team personnel should report:
    1. Essential clubhouse personnel and support staff to prepare the facilities
    2. Field managers and coaches
    3. Pitchers and catchers
    4. Position players.
  • When spring training ends, the players on the active roster for Opening Day and other essential team personnel will go to the team’s regular season facility, while the rest of the individuals will remain at a separate facility.
  • Outdoor spring training games in Florida and Arizona will have the following rules due to heat-related concerns:
    • First pitch is scheduled between 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. local time, unless otherwise approved by MLB.
    • Umpires can add a fifth person to the crew to allow a rotation to an off-field cooling station.
    • A cooling station should be provided near the field for umpires to use.
    • Home plate umpires can split games if temperatures reach a certain threshold.
    • Before games, including after batting and infield practice, home teams have to make sure the field is safe for play.
  • There will be strict limits on how many players and team personnel can be at the spring training facilities, based on how many can be safely accommodated with social distancing.
  • Workouts should be staggered throughout the day to avoid overcrowding.
  • Everyone has to complete a COVID-19 educational course before being allowed at any team facility.
  • Since spring training will be shorter, teams should let umpires attend workouts and intra-squad games to get ready for the season.

Who has access to team facilities?

  • Based on their role and job responsibilities, everyone associated with teams will be assigned a tier that determines which areas of the facilities they’re allowed to enter and when.
  • Everyone must wear a credential that displays a picture and their numbered tier around their neck, including players and umpires.
  • Tier 1: Players and other on-field personnel
    • Players in the club player pool -- 60 maximum
    • Field manager -- one maximum
    • Coaches, including MLB uniformed coaches -- 12 maximum
    • Bullpen catchers -- two maximum
    • Team physicians -- six maximum
    • Head and assistant athletic trainers -- two total maximum
    • Physical therapists -- two maximum
    • Strength and condition coaches -- two maximum
    • Umpires are also Tier 1 individuals, but they don’t count against a team’s limited number.
    • If a team has a player who doesn’t speak English or Spanish, one translator can be designated in Tier 1.
  • Tier 2: Other essential workers who need to be close to on-field personnel, including in the clubhouses, locker rooms, playing fields, dugouts, training rooms and weight rooms. These people can reasonably keep a physical distance from Tier 1 individuals or use PPE while performing their jobs.
    • Home clubhouse staff
    • Additional coaches, strength and condition staff members or medical workers
    • Traveling staff
    • Ownership representatives
    • Front office or baseball operations employees
    • Club communications and public relations staff members
    • Head groundskeeper
    • Security personnel assigned to restricted areas
    • Up to four members of a club’s visiting clubhouse staff -- does not count against team’s limit
    • One umpire room attendant -- does not count against team’s limit
    • A limited number of MLB and MLBPA officials designed by their organizations as Tier 2 -- does not count against team’s limit
    • Teams can have up to 38 Tier 2 individuals at any single time
    • Teams will be required to assign some essential media and broadcast workers, such as those who put microphones on players and operate cameras, as Tier 2 individuals -- does not count against team’s limit
    • NOTE: Anyone who fits one of these categories but does not require close contact with Tier 1 individuals should be considered Tier 3.
  • Tier 3: People who perform essential services but don’t have to be close to players or on-field personnel.
    • Certain operational personnel, such as cleaning service providers
    • Replay coordinators
    • Broadcast personnel, such as cameramen or audio technicians
    • Groundskeepers
    • Transportation providers
    • Additional stadium or security personnel not assigned to restricted areas
    • Teams can have up to 150 Tier 3 individuals at any given time
    • Can only access restricted areas when Tier 1 individuals aren’t present or strict physical distancing can be maintained.
  • Restricted areas can only be accessed by Tier 1 and Tier 2 personnel.
  • Lists of everyone in tiers 1, 2 and 3 have to be provided by teams seven days before spring training and seven days before the regular season. MLB will review the lists for approval.
  • Anyone who only works in areas of the facilities that are completely separate from the places where Tier 1-3 personnel go don’t need to be credentialed in one of the tiers. They can’t enter any facilities outside their separate areas on days when Tier 1 individuals will be in the facility. Access points that connect those separate areas with the parts of the facilities used by Tier 1-3 personnel have to be closed off and not used or any reason during the 2020 season.
  • Nobody who is unauthorized by MLB or a team (with MLB approval) can enter a team’s facility during the season, including family members, friends, representatives, sponsors and VIPs.
  • “Clubs may permit fan attendance at games with the approval of MLB and relevant local authorities.”
  • Outside events and ballpark tours are allowed for fans as long as restricted areas are never used, besides the field on off days.
  • During the regular season, only players can be in the restricted areas of the ballpark.
  • Players can’t enter areas designated for the other team, such as the opposing clubhouse.
  • Umpires have to stay within the umpire the room, the field and other areas necessary to travel between the two. They should never enter the clubhouses or areas for Tier 1 individuals on the teams.

On-field safety protocols

  • Lineup cards will not be exchanged before games. Instead, teams will input lineup cards into a mobile app and umpires will print cards for both teams about 15 minutes before the first pitch. Lineups should be confirmed at the plate meeting, while maintaining social distance.
  • Everyone on the field, including players, should practice physical distancing as much as possible within the limits of the game.
    • Stand six feet apart during the National Anthem.
    • Retreat several steps away from base runners when the ball is out of play.
    • If the catcher needs to stand to relay signs to infielders, he should step onto the grass toward the mound to avoid the batter in the box.
    • First and third base coaches should stay in or behind the coach’s boxes and avoid approaching base runners, fielders or umpires.
    • Players on opposing teams should not socialize or come within six feet of each other before the game, during warmups, in between innings or after the game.
  • Players should keep and use their own equipment, including pitchers bringing their own rosin bags to mounds and batters carrying their own pine tar and batting donuts to and from the on-deck circle.
  • Auxiliary clubhouse staff members have to retrieve equipment if players reach base.
  • After batting, players have to get their own equipment -- gloves, caps, sunglasses -- from the dugout before taking the field. Teammates should not retrieve or toss them.
  • Communal equipment should be disinfected regularly throughout each game. Players and coaches should never touch another person’s equipment.
  • All non-players have to wear face coverings at all times in the dugout and bullpens.
  • Everyone has to make every effort not to touch their face with their hands, including to give signs, wipe away sweat, lick fingers or whistle.
  • Spitting is prohibited at all times. Chewing gum is allowed.
  • Players with mouth guards have to wash or disinfect their hands before inserting and removing the mouth guards.
  • Baseballs used for batting practice should be cycled out at the end of each day and should not be reused for at least five days. Individuals have to use clean gloves when picking up baseballs.
  • A ball that is put in play and touched by multiple players has to be removed and exchanged for a new ball.
  • After an out, players are strongly discouraged from throwing the ball around the infield.
  • Grounds crew members have to stay in a separate place on the field and can’t go into the clubhouse or dugout. They should only work on the field when players aren’t on the field, as much as possible.
    • Players have to keep distance from ground crew members when they’re dragging the infield and fixing the mound.
    • Grounds crew members have to wear face coverings and work gloves at all times.
  • The duties usually handled by bat boys and girls will be handled by team staff members, not children. If nobody on the staff is available to do so, those services will not be available for the game.
  • MLB will handle storing and shipping baseballs to teams. Clubhouse members can’t handle baseballs without washing their hands first and wearing face coverings and gloves. Spit and sweat cannot be rubbed on baseballs.

Here are some diagrams provided by MLB that suggest how players should set up and rotate during drills:


  • All transactions that were previously frozen during the shutdown will resume at noon on the fifth day of spring training.
  • The trade deadline will be Aug. 31.
  • The draft-excluded date will be Aug. 31.
  • Players must be on the roster by Sept. 15 to be eligible for the postseason.
  • Sept. 14 is the last day a player can be released and still be resigned before May 15 of the following season.
  • The crediting of MLB service time for days on an optional assignment should be no more than 18 total days of service time.
  • All waiver periods are removed except that all outright waiver requests will expire on the seventh day after secured.
  • The minimum number of active days for Rule 5 selections has been reduced proportionally to the number of games in the revised 2020 season, but in no case fewer than 50 days.
  • 10 days are required before recalling any player or two-way player who was optioned or outrighted, unless the player was assigned before Opening Day.
  • The retention bonus deadline and release/assignment clauses in minor league UPC’s from the freeze will now be five days prior to the new Opening Day.
  • The first date to resign a released player will be 20 days before Opening Day if the player was released before the transaction freeze and 20 days into the season from the date of the unrestricted waiver request if the player was released after the transaction freeze.
  • The previous season’s winning percentage will govern the waiver policy for the first 20 days of the season.

Player pool

  • By 4 p.m. three days before spring training, teams have to submit a list of up to 60 players eligible for the 2020 season. That will be known as the “Club Player Pool.”
  • The Club Player Pool will consist of all players on a teams’ 40-man roster that they anticipate could play and any non-40-man roster players under contract and reserve to the team who could be called up during the season.
  • A list of up to 60 players from the Club Player Pool who will be invited to MLB spring training must also be provided -- this could include a subset of players who have a chance to make the Opening Day roster but wouldn’t otherwise be kept under contract.
    • Players in the regular season Club Player Pool who aren’t invited to spring training will be sent to an alternate training site.
  • No team can exceed the 60 player limit in its Club Player Pool at any time during spring training or the season.
  • If a team is at the limit and wants to add a player to its active roster or the alternate training site, it has to remove a player from the Club Player Pool through trade, waivers, return of Rule 5 selection, release, outright assignment, designated for assignment or placement on an injured or suspended list.
    • Voluntary retirement, disqualification or ineligibility would also be included.
  • Non-40-man roster players can be removed from the Club Player Pool by a trade, release, placement on the COVID-19 injured list, voluntary retirement, disqualification or ineligibility.
  • Players in the Club Player Pool who aren’t on the active roster will live and train at the alternate training site.
  • Teams have to submit their alternate training site no later than seven days before spring training. Sites have to be close to where the team plays its home games so air travel isn’t needed but also fully separated from the facility where active players train and play.
    • Appropriate coaches and staff members will be assigned to alternate training sites. Those individuals will also need to be granted tier access.
    • Intra-squad games are allowed at alternate training sites, but no exhibition games against other teams’ inactive players are allowed.
  • All traded players must be assigned to the Club Player Pool.
  • If a non-rostered player is removed from the Club Player Pool via release or an outright waiver assignment, that player can’t be added back to the Club Player Pool for the rest of the season or playoffs.
  • Players who can’t report in time due to immigration will be placed on a restricted list and remain there until reinstated.

Active roster

  • By noon of Opening Day, every team has to submit its active roster with a maximum of 30 players and a minimum of 25 players.
  • The maximum roster limit will be reduced from 30 to 28 at noon on the 15th day of the season.
  • The maximum roster limit will be reduced from 28 to 26 at noon on the 29th day of the season and remain at 26 for the rest of the regular season and playoffs.
  • The minimum of 25 players on an active roster will be enforced throughout the season and playoffs.
  • There will not be a limit on the number of pitchers on the active roster.
  • If there’s a doubleheader scheduled while rosters are at 26 players, teams can use one additional player for the doubleheader.

Taxi squad

  • Three players from the Club Player Pool who aren’t on the active roster can travel on road trips with the MLB team as the taxi squad.
  • If a team carries three taxi squad players, at least one has to be a catcher.
  • Taxi squad players won’t receive MLB service time and will be paid the minor league minimum and receive allowances while on the road.
  • Taxi squad players can work out with the MLB team, but must be in uniform and in the dugout during games.
  • Catchers on the taxi squad can serve as bullpen catchers.
  • Taxi squad players are subject to the same transactional rules as players at the alternate training sites.
  • At the end of each road trip, taxi squad players will return to the alternate training site, unless a taxi squad catcher is serving as a bullpen catcher for home games.

Clubhouse access times

  • Players can’t arrive at facilities more than five hours before games, unless rehabbing injuries.
  • Clubhouses have to be closed by an hour and a half after games, excluding medical reasons.
  • Facilities can only be open to players for four hours on off days.

Injured lists

  • The injured list for both pitchers and position players will be 10 days.
  • The 60-day injured list has been shortened to a 45-day injured list.
  • Players can be placed on the 45-day IL without regard to the number of players on the 40-man roster until Aug. 31.
  • Any player who was placed on the 60-day IL before March 26 is eligible to be reinstated immediately.
  • A player doesn’t have to test positive to be placed on the COVID-19 injury list. It can be due to a positive test, confirmed exposure or possible symptoms.
    • The MLB Joint Committee has to approve any placements and activations from the COVID-19 injury list. There is no minimum or maximum length of placement on the list.
    • Players on the COVID-19 IL won’t count against a team’s active list, reserve list or Club Player Pool.
  • If a team has a significant number of COVID-19 related injury list placements at the alternate training site at a time and chooses to substitute those players from within its organization, MLB has the right to allow that without requiring a release.

Travel rules

  • Teams have to arrange safe and clean travel for all Tier 1 and 2 individuals to and from all cities at home and on the road. They cannot travel in any manner outside those guidelines.
  • When traveling independently to report to the team, individuals should drive their own cars or take ride-share vehicles whenever possible.
  • Nobody can use public transportation between their homes and ballparks. Anyone who can’t drive or walk can use private car services in compliance with safety protocols.
  • Clubs on the road have to try to travel in a controlled environment at all times. Only Tier 1 and 2 individuals can travel with the team on the road.
  • When necessary, umpires can travel with teams.
  • Time in crowded settings has to be minimized and everyone must wear face coverings and gloves. Hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes have to be used, too.
  • Nobody in a traveling party can use separate public or private transportation between cities or the ballpark.
  • Teams must provide a minimum of two buses for transfers from airport to hotel, hotel to ballpark and ballpark to airport to ensure everyone can have an empty seat next to them.
  • Bus drivers have to adhere to the minimum standards for bus transit operators established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, be certified as healthy by the bus company, wear ace coverings and make sure the bus is clean and sanitized before and after every trip.
  • At least six trips should be staggered for travel from the team hotel to the ballpark before road games. Every 20 minutes the bus should transport players in a way that makes sure they all arrive at least three hours before first pitch.
  • Teams should use private and smaller airports whenever possible.
  • When at public airports, teams should avoid the main terminal gates that could expose them to the public.
  • TSA screening should be done plane-side or at the ballpark, when possible.
  • Window seats should be boarded first and deplaned last. Disinfectant wipes and social distancing guidelines should be used when entering and exiting planes.
  • Empty seats should be used to socially distance on planes. Middle seats should be blocked as a minimum requirement. Everyone should stay seated during the flight except to use the bathroom.
  • Airline workers should assign fixed crews to MLB flights. Those crews should have limited other exposure and frequent testing.
  • In-flight catering should be as limited as possible -- a single pre-packed bag.
  • All safety measures for plane travel also apply for teams using trains.


  • Hotels used by teams have to adhere to safe COVID-19 practices approved by the CDC.
  • Members of the travel party can’t leave the team hotel for nonessential reasons or congregate in public areas of the hotel.
  • The hotel floors where teams use should be treated as restricted areas.
  • Members of the travel party are entitled to single rooms on all road trips. Each room should have single-use cups.
  • Room visits are only allowed for immediate family members. Meeting with any other people on the road is discouraged.
  • When possible, teams must use lower floors of hotels so stairs and elevators don’t have to be used.
  • Hotels shouldn’t book any other visitors on the same floors as rooms used by MLB team personnel.
  • Hotels must provide a dedicated dining area in a private location for teams. Team personnel cannot go to restaurants that are open to the public.
  • Room service can be ordered directly to rooms. Delivery services can be used as long as the food is dropped off to hotel staff to deliver to the rooms in a safe way.
  • Team members can’t use the fitness centers, pools or saunas at hotels unless the team has reserved the entire facility and it’s approved by MLB.
  • Private entrances, exits and check-in areas have to be available for MLB team personnel at hotels, when possible, to avoid interactions with others.
  • Rooms should be pre-keyed when possible to permit card-less access.
  • Luggage should be sent directly to hotel rooms. Members of the traveling party should carry their own carry-on bags.
  • Hotel staff members have to follow MLB’s safety protocols.


  • Lockers should have a minimum of six feet between them. If that’s not possible, temporary locker rooms should be created in unused stadium space or staggered dressing times should be enforced.
  • High-tough areas -- door knobs, handles, dials -- should be cleaned and disinfected multiple times per day.
  • Recreational items considered high-touch areas -- ping pong paddles, billiard cues, foosball tables, playing cards, dominoes, dice, game controllers -- should be removed or regularly disinfected.
  • Teams should consider requiring on-field personnel to arrive at the facility fully dressed to limit time spent in the clubhouse.
  • Showering at team facilities is discouraged, but not prohibited by MLB. Nobody outside of Tier 1 is allowed to shower at the facilities.
    • If someone does shower, teams have to remove every other shower head to promote distancing, get water-resistant curtains or partitions and limit the number of people who can shower at once.
    • When showers aren’t in use, curtains and doors should stay open for water evaporation and air flow. They must be thoroughly cleaned multiple times per day when in use.
  • Players showering should use sandals or footwear as well as personalized shampoo and body wash.
  • The training rooms must be available to home and visiting teams while maintaining distancing and properly disinfecting between use.
  • Items kept in bulk quantities, such as Band-Aids, athletic tape, sunscreen or lotions, should be distributed by medical workers so others aren’t touching common surfaces.
  • The use of indoor batting cages is discouraged when outdoor batting practice is feasible. Indoor cages can be used during games or due to inclement or hot weather.
  • Pitchers should be given a personal set of baseballs during bullpens and use separate balls to demonstrate pitch grips or mechanics.
  • Multiple pitchers should not throw bullpens at once unless two pitchers are warming up at the same time during a game.
    • If there are multiple pitchers throwing bullpens, they should use every other mound for physical distancing.
  • Bullpen seating arrangements should be modified to create social distancing during games.
  • Only Tier 1 individuals active and likely to enter a game can be in the dugout during that game.
    • For example, the next game’s scheduled starting pitcher should not be in the dugout because he is not likely to enter that game.
    • Inactive players can use auxiliary seating areas, including the stands, as long as they sit six feet apart. The same restrictions that apply to being in the dugout apply to players in auxiliary seating.
  • People who have no in-game or post-game responsibilities have to leave the ballpark during games.
  • Leaning on the dugout railing or ledges is discouraged. If it happens, a clean towel has to be used as a barrier.
  • Limit and discourage any unnecessary movement within the dugout to maintain social distancing.
  • Disinfect dugout and bullpen phones with wipes after every use.
  • Batting helmets have to be individually cleaned and wrapped -- such as in a plastic bag -- before being put in equipment bags.
  • Social distancing has to be followed even in weight rooms, including strength coaches. Workouts should be staggered to stay under occupancy limits.
  • Teams should consider moving workout equipment to outdoor or ventilated areas of the stadium.
  • Everyone has to rack and carry their own weights.
  • Equipment that can’t be sanitized or disinfected has to be removed unless it’s designated for just one person for the full season.
  • Teams have to address the safe use and cleaning of headphones, audio controllers and monitor controllers.
  • Dietary supplements can only be supplied in single-serve packets. No large powder tubs are allowed. Protein drinks should be provided ready to drink.
  • Encourage eating away from facilities as much as possible, including post-game meals in to-go containers.
  • No buffet style or communal food spreads are allowed this season.
  • Outside food should not be brought into restricted areas.
  • No large condiment bottles can be used in eating areas -- only individual use packets. Silverware should all be disposable.
  • Visiting teams can only get food from outside caterers if the home team doesn’t object, the caterer follows safe COVID-19 practices, the meals are individually packaged and the drop-off happens at the entrance of the facility without the caterer going inside.
  • Use of any communal video terminals is prohibited. Players can use personalized tablets loaded with content before or after games.
  • Communal bathroom items, such as combs, cologne, razors, hair gel, mouthwash and toothpaste, are not allowed.
  • Team vehicles, including buses, are considered restricted areas and have to follow the same rules. Windows should be kept open, if safe.
  • No saunas and steam rooms are allowed at team facilities for the 2020 season.
  • Only one person can use whirlpools, plunge pools and float pods/tanks at a time. Whirlpools have to be drained, disinfected and refilled after each use. Chlorine and other chemicals must be used to properly disinfect hydrotherapy units. Players must wear a cloth mask over a standard surgical mask while using hydrotherapy and cryotherapy units.
  • Replay rooms are off-limits to Tier 1 individuals and will be used by Tier 3 individuals only.
  • Elevator use should be limited, with frequent button disinfecting and few people allowed on at a time.
  • MLB will monitor for prohibited practices and conduct random, unannounced inspections to make sure rules are followed. Any possible violation of rules has to be reported by teams to MLB. Employees who report possible violations can not be retaliated against by teams.
  • The highest-ranking baseball operations official and medical staff member from each team must certify that the club acted in full compliance with the provisions every month.


  • Medical staff members can treat players if necessary for medical or injury reasons. Nobody else should congregate around injured players at distances less than six feet.
  • Only medical personnel can help players off the field or take them through the facilities.
  • Injured players need to limit their time at team facilities as much as possible, rehabbing at home or when others aren’t around. They cannot travel with a team if they’re not expected to be active for at least part of a road trip.
  • Any player who won’t be able to play for 10 or more days due to injury might have to complete rehab at a secondary location.
  • Imaging technicians will remain away from restricted areas unless they’re needed. They must wear gloves and a surgical mask at all times.
  • Only MLB-approved physicians and medical staff members can be used for gameday medical coverage.
  • Any non-Tier 1 individual who needs medical attention should receive it outside of restricted areas unless it’s an emergency.

Stadium preparations

  • Discuss ballpark risks with law enforcement, such as the possibility of people congregating outside stadiums during games. Work to prevent gatherings at fences and lines.
  • Pre-game ballpark inspections should be conducted.
  • Detection dog bomb sweeps before every game. One dog must stay on-site during games for security.
  • No fewer than two police officers present from one hour before first pitch until the visiting team leaves.
  • Credential and security screening of everyone entering the stadium, including metal detection and bag searches. This includes players and umpires.
  • Check the outside of the stadium to prevent vehicle-ramming attacks.
  • Deliveries of unanticipated items to the stadium are prohibited.
  • Mail and deliveries have to be disinfected or allowed to sit for 24 hours before being delivered. Players should not order items to be delivered to the facilities.
  • If it’s not possible to have separate entrances, people in Tiers 1 and 2 have to arrive at a different time than people in Tier 3, and the areas must be disinfected between use. The same applies for Tier 3 individuals and those who aren’t in any tiers. The same applies for the home team and visiting team arrivals.
  • A parking area for only Tier 1 and 2 individuals should be designated.
  • Teams should operate scoreboards as efficiently as possible while limiting the number of people needed to keep them up and running. Advanced production elements should be limited.
  • Ribbon boards or LED displays can be used for advertising as long as they can be controlled by the workers already required to run the scoreboard. The same rule applies for the out-of-town scoreboard.
    • Limited replays can be shown as long as they can be executed by the same workers.
    • Music, audio and public announcements are also allowed.
  • Mascots can be at the stadium, but they can’t go on the field or into any restricted areas in gamedays.

Media access

  • Approved media will be screened for entry to stadiums and are subject to the same standards as Tier 3 individuals.
  • Media can’t enter the ballpark earlier than four hours before first pitch and must leave within one hour after postgame interviews end.
  • Teams can credential up to 35 media members, including photographers, with exceptions for significant games/series.
  • Media members have to observe all MLB and team medical rules and restrictions. They have to wear face coverings at all times and socially distance. They must wash or sanitizer their hands frequently and might be asked to wear gloves.
  • Media is not allowed in restricted areas or permitted to get close to on-field personnel at any time.
  • All media must apply for a daily credential with the home team at least 24 hours before a game.
  • Baseball Writers’ Association of America cards will not be honored during the 2020 season.
  • Media members who plan to travel for their team’s road games have to let the team know before each road trip so the team can advise the home club in advance.
  • Media members are limited to the workspace provided for them and can’t enter other areas of the facility. That might be outside of the press box due to health and safety precautions.
  • Teams should establish a physically distanced area outside ballparks for live shots or news stories.
  • Stats provided during games should be transmitted electronically. No paper handouts are allowed.
  • Media members cannot roam the ballpark.
  • Workspaces have to be cleaned and disinfected between every use.
  • Elevators can only be used by media members unable to use stairs.
  • All pregame and postgame interviews will be by video conference or telephone call. There will be no direct access to on-field personnel.
  • Photographers will shoot the game from the seating area and must wear gloves, avoid touching surfaces and maintain a safe distance from everyone.
    • They are not allowed in the camera wells, up against netting or near Tier 1 individuals or the playing field.
    • Robotic cameras can be set up in areas close to the field, but they have to be installed when nobody is around.
  • Photographers can get to the stadium three hours before first pitch. They must leave within one hour after the game.
  • If food isn’t provided for media members, they can bring outside food into the stadium, as long as it’s approved by the team and screened upon entry.
  • Only Tier 1 and Tier 2 personnel can assist players with interviews, such as holding microphones, using video cameras or handing someone a headset.


  • Radio announcers can travel to away games
  • Up to 40 broadcast personnel can receive Tier 3 credentials for a game, including home and away TV and radio personalities, as well as national broadcast workers.
  • Plexiglass barriers might need to be installed around the first base and third base camera wells.
  • No broadcasters are allowed on the field or near Tier 1 individuals.
  • MLB can assign certain broadcasters to Tier 2 access and allow them on the field for specific games.
  • A team’s TV announcers will not travel to away games, but they can still call the games and provide graphics for the team’s broadcast while the team is on the road. The cameras will be controlled by the home team’s TV broadcast crew, except the away team can control up to two cameras for the game.
    • National broadcasts can control up to three cameras while the home team controls the rest of the cameras.
  • Since home broadcasters are producing a feed for both fan bases, the feed has to show both the home and visiting teams equally.
    • Roughly equal time should be spent showing the home and away dugouts.
    • Home clubs are responsible for making sure broadcasters produce a neutral feed, and away teams can notify home teams if there’s a failure to do so.
    • Failure to correct an unequal feed can result in a written complaint to the commissioner. Then, corrective action can be taken.
  • Up to six videographers for non-broadcast coverage -- such as documentaries -- can be approved. The same restrictions enforced for photographers will be applied.
  • Teams can perform social media functions, but people performing those functions must be allocated the appropriate tier for their access.
  • MLB will assign technical staff to Tier 2 support for working on dugout iPads, replay equipment, cameras and other technology. Equipment repair during games will only be allowed in emergencies.

Medical protocols: Plans to monitor for, contain COVID-19 cases

  • MLB created a plan to closely monitor the people it refers to as “covered individuals,” which includes the players, managers, coaches, umpires and essential staff required to come into close contact with players.
  • The monitoring and testing plan has four components.
    1. Prescreening: Everyone will complete a symptom and exposure questionnaire two days before intake screening.
    2. Intake screening: A temperature check with a contactless thermometer, a body fluid sample and a blood sample for antibody testing. Then covered individuals will self quarantine until the results are determined.
    3. Regular health monitoring of asymptomatic individuals: Everyone will have their temperature and symptoms checked at least twice per day. “Tier 1″ individuals will be tested every other day, and everyone is subject to multiple tests per week. Antibody testing will be conducted for everyone about once per month.
    4. Expedited analysis for symptomatic and exposed individuals: Anyone who has a temperature at or above 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit, reports any other possible COVID-19 symptoms or has come in close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 case is subject to an immediate assessment and diagnostic test.

Here is the symptom and exposure questionnaire:

  • Every team has to designate a dedicated testing area at its spring training site, alternate training site and home ballpark. These places can’t be used for anything else on testing days, have space for 2-4 people and would ideally be outside. The same rules apply for isolation areas, where someone who shows symptoms or tests positive can go pending relocation.
  • MLB will offer free COVID-19 tests to anyone who lives with covered individuals and health care workers or first responders in each team’s home city.
  • Everyone will be given an oral digital thermometer to check themselves before leaving home every morning. They must measure their own temperatures twice in a row at the same time every morning.
  • Tier 1-3 individuals who enter team facilities will have their temperature checked at the stadium and complete a standardized symptom and exposure questionnaire. Visiting teams can do so at their hotel or on the bus as long as the testing is within two hours of arrival. The home team is responsible for testing umpires.
  • Teams have to staff facility health screen stations at all times when facilities are in use, including contingency plans for bad or hot weather. Those areas have to be sanitized regularly.
    • For everyone who enters the club facility, the health screen worker must record the date, time,, location, name, title, temperature reading, symptom and exposure questionnaire results and whether or not the person was allowed into the facility.
    • MLB will monitor and audit the accuracy, consistency and timeliness of each team’s documentation at least once per week.
    • Anyone who has COVID-19 symptoms or a high temperature will be denied entry into the facility and has to immediately self isolate while being directed to a team physician.
  • Every team has to create a specific COVID-19 action plan to outline the following:
    • How to handle possible COVID-19 cases at home or on the road.
    • Identifying local housing options for anyone who tests positive or lives with someone who tests positive for COVID-19.
    • How to treat non-COVID-19 emergency situations while practicing safe COVID-19 prevention guidelines.
    • Contact information for health officials.
    • Protocols for reporting symptomatic people.
    • Every team’s action plan has to be submitted for approval before they can start spring training.
  • When someone affiliated with an organization shows symptoms, teams have to identify anyone who had close contact with them and monitor those people or issue an expedited test. All facilities the symptomatic person visited have to be immediately cleaned and disinfected.
  • To return to the team, someone who shows possible symptoms has to have two negative COVID-19 tests, no longer show any symptoms and get approval from a team physician.
  • If someone tests positive for COVID-19, they must isolate from everyone until getting clearance from a team physician and the MLB Joint Committee. While in isolation, that person must receive daily remote care from the team’s medical staff. That person cannot travel, enter team facilities or have contact with anyone other than medical staff.
  • A person who tests positive can return to the team when they meet each of the following conditions:
    • Two negative COVID-19 tests taken at least 24 hours apart.
    • No fever for at least 72 hours without using fever suppressant.
    • Complete an antibody test.
    • Permission from the team physician after a cardiac evaluation.
    • The team physician says they no longer present a risk of infecting others.
    • Any local regulations are satisfied.
  • Anyone who has been exposed to a confirmed COVID-19 case has to test negative for the virus, be completely asymptomatic, undergo frequent temperature checks and symptom monitoring, wear a surgical mask at all times (except on the field), receive daily tests for seven days and immediately isolate if they notice any possible symptoms.
  • Teams have to speak with everyone in the organization to determine who is a “high-risk” individual or who lives with a high-risk individual. Accommodations should be made to protect high-risk individuals or those who have regular contact with someone who is high-risk, including adjusting their duties to be more remote or spend time around fewer people.
  • Any high-risk player who chooses not to participate in the 2020 season will be placed on the COVID-19 Related Injured List. Players can change their mind either way at any point in the season, though someone who originally decided to sit out must be approved to play by a team physician.
  • Family members and people who live with team employees will be given personal protective equipment, education about COVID-19 and access to regular testing.

Here are the home and faculty health screen sheets:

  • When they’re not with the team, covered individuals should avoid situations that present an elevated risk of contracting COVID-19, such as being in large groups or going to crowded places. While they won’t be formally restricted from doing those activities, an off-the-field code of conduct should be agreed upon for each team.
  • Everyone (Tier 1-3 individuals) must wear a face covering and, when appropriate, additional PPE inside club facilities, with limited exceptions.
  • With the consent of the Players Association, MLB can require stricter safety measures for the playoffs, including restricting player activities off the field with quarantining or “bubble” protocols.
  • MLB has the right to relocate teams to neutral sites, spring training cites or other teams’ home ballparks, or reschedule games for health and safety reasons.
  • MLB has the right to conduct some or all of the 2020 postseason at neutral sites, including the home ballparks of teams not participating in the playoffs.
  • Players don’t have to wear face coverings while on the field, in the bullpen, in the dugout, during games or practices or while engaging in strenuous activities, such as workouts, practices, batting practice or strength and conditioning activities.
  • Other uniformed personnel are not required to wear face coverings while on the field during games.
  • Every restricted area has to follow minimum standards of cleaning and disinfecting, personal hygiene rules, social distancing and use of PPE.
    • Teams have to identify a maximum number of people allowed at each restricted area at one time. Maximum occupancy signs should be posted at every entrance.
    • If someone will be in a space for 15 minutes or longer, there can’t be more than one person per 36 square feet in a room.
  • Equipment should never be shared.
  • No high-fives, fist bumps, hugs or any physical interactions are allowed for Tier 1 and Tier 2 individuals while at team facilities. They must wash hands before and after any interactions.
  • Players and on-field personnel should only use disposable towels during workouts, training and games. Towels should never be shared.
  • No communal water and sports drink coolers or jugs are allowed. Only person water bottles or contactless water dispensers with disposable cups should be used.
  • Players are not allowed to spit, chew tobacco or chew sunflower seeds at any time while at team facilities.
  • Players and on-field personnel should wash or sanitize their hands after every single half-inning and after handling equipment. Hand sanitizer must be available in the dugout.
  • Everyone should follow physical distancing rules such as staying at least six feet away from all other people and being inside as little as possible.
  • Teams should display signs discouraging hand shakes or high fives and use cones or tape to mark off walkways and seating areas around facilities.
  • Meetings should be held virtually or outside with social distance and face coverings.
  • Workouts and drills should be communicated virtually through video chat, texts or emails.
  • Teams have to outline where everyone will go to maintain social distancing during weather delays or between games of a doubleheader.
  • MLB will create comprehensive COVID-19 education programs for Tier 1 and 2 individuals to be shared throughout organizations.
  • All players and umpires must complete COVID-19 education before reporting and on an ongoing basis throughout the season and playoffs.

About the Author:

Derick is the Lead Digital Editor for ClickOnDetroit and has been with Local 4 News since April 2013. Derick specializes in breaking news, crime and local sports.