MLB cancels spring games through March 4 due to lockout

Feb 17, 2022, 9:33 PM | Updated: Feb 18, 2022, 4:44 pm
MLB lockout...
A practice field at the Cincinnati Reds spring training complex sits empty as pitchers and catchers are not starting spring training workouts as scheduled as the Major League Baseball lockout enters its 77th day and will prevent pitchers and catchers from taking the field for the first time since October. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

NEW YORK (AP) — Major League Baseball canceled the first week of spring training games through March 4 in the first public acknowledgement of the disruption caused by the lockout.

The announcement Friday came with the work stoppage in its 79th day, and a day after talks on economics between management and the Major League Baseball Players Association lasted just 15 minutes.

Negotiators are set to resume bargaining on core economics on Monday in Jupiter, Florida, and MLB said members of the owners’ negotiating committee will attend the session, just the seventh on the central issues of the dispute since the lockout began Dec. 2.

Spring training was to have started this week, and the exhibition schedule on Feb. 26. There were 16 games set for that day, including the World Series champion Atlanta Braves playing Boston in Florida and the renamed Cleveland Guardians taking on Cincinnati in Arizona.

“We regret that, without a collective bargaining agreement in place, we must postpone the start of spring training games until no earlier than Saturday, March 5,” MLB said in a statement. “All 30 clubs are unified in their strong desire to bring players back to the field and fans back to the stands.”

MLB told the union it thinks Feb. 28 is the last possible date to reach an agreement that would allow a timely start to the season. The union didn’t respond to MLB on whether it agrees with that date or thinks there is additional time.

Players issued a statement criticizing management for the stoppage.

“Nothing requires the league to delay the start of spring training, much like nothing required the league’s decision to implement the lockout in the first place,” the union said. “Despite the decisions by the league, players remain committed to the negotiating process.”

Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred has said the lockout decision was made to control timing and prevent a late-season strike in the absence of a labor contract, such as the August 1994 lockout that led to the first cancellation of the World Series in nine decades.

This is the third straight disrupted spring training, damaging local tourism economies in Florida and Arizona.

Games were cut short on March 12, 2020, because of the coronavirus pandemic, leading to opening day being pushed back from March 26 to July 23 and each team’s schedule cut from 162 games to 60.

While spring training started on time last year, pandemic restrictions led to capacity limits that depressed attendance.

Negotiations had been taking place at the offices of MLB and the union in New York. The switch in venue for next week was to accommodate players who are in Florida.

For the most part, owners and players have joined the bargaining by Zoom. Colorado Rockies CEO Dick Monfort, chairman of the owners’ labor policy committee, and free agent reliever Andrew Miller both attended the Jan. 24 session, the first in-person bargaining during the lockout.

“We are committed to reaching an agreement that is fair to each side,” MLB said. “On Monday, members of the owners’ bargaining committee will join an in-person meeting with the players’ association and remain every day next week to negotiate and work hard towards starting the season on time.”

Spring training workouts were to have started Wednesday.

“The clubs have adopted a uniform policy that provides an option for full refunds for fans who have purchased tickets from the clubs to any spring training games that are not taking place,” MLB said.

___

More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Shohei Ohtani throws to an Oakland Athletics batter during the ...
Associated Press

Ohtani homers, wins to match Ruth as Angels top A’s 5-1

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Shohei Ohtani withstood another injury scare and pitched six scoreless innings to go with his team-leading 25th home run, reaching yet another monumental milestone as the Los Angeles Angels beat the Oakland Athletics 5-1 on Tuesday night. The two-way Japanese star joined Babe Ruth (1918) as the only players in major […]
22 hours ago
FILE - Serena Williams, of the United States  celebrates a point against compatriot Christina McHal...
Associated Press

Serena Williams’ legacy involves plenty of wins, plenty else

A couple of days before Serena Williams claimed the 22nd of her 23 Grand Slam singles titles at Wimbledon in 2016, she was asked what she makes of it when people refer to her as one of history’s greatest female athletes. Her reply: She prefers being characterized as “one of the greatest athletes of all […]
22 hours ago
Associated Press

Jonquel Jones’ double-double leads Sun past Sparks 97-71

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Jonquel Jones had 21 points and 10 rebounds to help the Connecticut Sun ease past the Los Angeles Sparks 97-71 on Tuesday night. Connecticut (23-11) stayed a game behind second-place Las Vegas in the playoff chase. The Sun will stay in Los Angeles for a rematch on Thursday before closing out […]
22 hours ago
Pittsburgh Pirates' Rodolfo Castro reacts after making the last out against the Arizona Diamondback...
Associated Press

Castro loses phone in Pirates’ 6-4 loss to Diamondbacks

PHOENIX (AP) — Pittsburgh infielder Rodolfo Castro lost his phone on the field and the Pirates were stymied by rookie Tommy Henry in a 6-4 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks on Tuesday night. Henry (1-1) was sharp in his Chase Field debut, allowing a run on four hits in seven innings for his first big […]
22 hours ago
Colorado Rockies' Ryan McMahon follows the flight of his two-run home run off St. Louis Cardinals r...
Associated Press

McMahon, Grichuk tee off, Rockies end Cards’ win streak at 7

DENVER (AP) — Ryan McMahon hit a 495-foot homer for the longest drive by a Colorado player at Coors Field, Randal Grichuk went 5 for 5 and the Rockies routed St. Louis 16-5 Tuesday night, ending the Cardinals’ seven-game winning streak. “It felt really good,” McMahon said. “After you hit it you don’t have very […]
22 hours ago
Associated Press

Plum scored 18 of her 22 points in 2nd half, Aces beat Dream

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Kelsey Plum scored 18 of her 22 points in the second half, A’ja Wilson had 24 points and 14 rebounds, and the Las Vegas Aces held off the Atlanta Dream 97-90 on Tuesday night. Las Vegas (24-10) pulled within one game of first-place Chicago with two games to play, including hosting […]
22 hours ago
MLB cancels spring games through March 4 due to lockout