Players return to COVID protocols as spring training opens

Diamondbacks Lovullo Baseball

FILE – Arizona Diamondbacks Madison Bumgarner throws against the Texas Rangers during the first inning of a baseball game in Arlington, Texas, in this Wednesday, July 29, 2020, file photo. Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo enters his fifth year with the Diamondbacks — and the final year of his current contract — under a substantial amount of scrutiny. The Diamondbacks are hoping left-hander Madison Bumgarner can turn into the top-of-the-rotation starter they wanted him to be when he signed an $85 million, five-year deal before last season. (AP Photo/Jeffrey McWhorter, File)

Pitchers and catchers around baseball reported to spring training Wednesday, appreciating what’s at stake as they try to follow COVID-19 protocols to make sure the season runs with minimal interruptions.

They must follow even more stringent restrictions than they dealt with during the abbreviated 2020 season.

MLB is hoping to have a full, 162-game season after playing a 60-game schedule last year that included no fans in the stands until the postseason.

Agreed-upon new requirements include everyone wearing electronic tracing wristbands to access the ballpark, The Associated Press reported.

According to The AP, players had to undergo an at-home quarantine five days before reporting to spring training.

While in spring training, the players will have to stay in their living quarters unless they are playing, receiving medical care, getting groceries, picking up takeout food. If they eat outdoors, they must get permission beforehand, The AP reported.

The AP reported that joining new teams will find it hard to bond and grow with teammates.

For instance, under MLB’s protocols, three to four players to meet up in a social gathering, like the video room, are a no-no.

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