Dodgers: Everything you need to know about baseball returning

Los Angeles Dodgers (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Los Angeles Dodgers (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

Baseball is officially back! Let’s get you caught up on the important details.

After three long months, plus a few weeks, the Los Angeles Dodgers will be finally doing baseball things as a team preparing for the 2020 season.

Days after commissioner Rob Manfred implemented a 60-game season based on a March agreement between the owners and players, MLBPA has agreed to the health protocols and will report to Spring Training 2.0.

Here is everything you need to know about baseball returning.

When will the Dodgers report to camp?

Pitchers and catchers are expected to report to camp by July 1, with Spring Training officially beginning on July 3. Positional players will report at a later date. Besides prioritizing extra time for pitchers to stretch out their arms, teams will begin the “new normal” of playing amid a global pandemic by spreading out player arrivals and team workouts to avoid large gatherings of players on the field at the same time.

Where will the Dodgers hold Spring Training 2.0?

With the rise in coronavirus cases in Arizona, the Dodgers will hold Spring Training 2.0 at Dodger Stadium.

Where will the Dodgers play during the actual season?

The Dodgers will play their home games at Dodger Stadium, albeit without fans in attendance. They will travel to play road games, just like in a traditional season.

However, MLB has the right to relocate teams to neutral sites for health and safety reasons, according to USA Today. This includes the postseason.

When will the season begin?

The official 60-game schedule has not yet been released—it is expected to come out in the next 72 hours, per USA Today. But we do know the season will begin on July 23 or July 24 and conclude on September 27, which will require teams to play 60 games in 66-67 days.

What will the schedule look like?

There has been rumors of a radical realignment for the 2020 season, but teams will remain in their traditional divisions. The Dodgers will compete in the National League West, just like every other year.

What will be different is the opponents the Dodgers are scheduled to play. Since the season is only 60 games long and MLB wants to reduce travel, the Dodgers will only play against their divisional opponents and teams from the American League West .

Yes, that means the Dodgers will play the Astros this year. The schedule is expected to look like this:

  • vs NL West opponents 10 times each (40 games)
  • vs AL West opponents 3-6 times each (20 games), including 6 games against the Angels.

That means the Dodgers will play 1/3 of their schedule against the Giants, Astros, and Angels, which should be fun. They will play the remainder of their schedule against the Padres, Rockies, Diamondbacks, Athletics, Rangers, and Mariners.

Will there be an expanded postseason?

The postseason format will remain the same. There will be six divisional winners across the two leagues, along with four wild cards who will compete in a play-in game, just like last year.

MLB owners proposed an expanded playoff format that was rejected by the players.

What will rosters look like?

Rosters have been frozen since shortly after play was suspended in March. The roster freeze will be lifted on Friday at Noon ET. Teams must submit their 60-man player pool names by Sunday at 3:00 ET. Teams are allowed to have up to three taxi squad players on the road with them (if they take three, one must be a catcher). All roster information reported by Jayson Stark.

The Dodgers will start the season with an expanded 30-man roster, which they will presumably use to carry extra pitchers. After two weeks, rosters will be reduced to 28 players, and after four weeks, rosters will return to the traditional 26-man size. This allows teams to slowly build up the arm strength of their pitchers after the start-stop-start nature to the season.

Will there be trades?

While there are valid concerns about players switching between clubhouses – in fact, as part of the safety protocols, players are prohibited from fraternizing with opponents before and after games – there will be trades. The new MLB trade deadline is expected to be August 31.

Will there be a designated hitter in the National League?

Yes. A designated hitter will be instituted in the National League for the 2020 season. However, since the players rejected the latest proposal by the owners, there will not be a designated hitter for the 2021 season.

What will extra innings look like?

MLB will adopt minor league rules for extra innings games this year. The league wants to avoid games that extend into 15 or 16 innings, so extra innings will start with a man on second base.

Will players decide to skip the season because of health risks?

The health and protocol agreement allows players to opt out of the season if they are concerned about the novel coronavirus. Only players who are considered at high risk to severe illness from the virus would still be paid and receive service time.

What happens if someone tests positive for Covid-19?

MLB is expected to institute special Covid-19 related injury lists for players who test positive, have confirmed exposure, or are experiencing symptoms, according to ESPN. It is unclear what will happen if a large number of players test positive in a small timeframe.

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It’s going to be an interesting season. Please check back as more information becomes available.