Bob Nightengale | USA TODAY
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Major League Baseball informed its teams that they will open the season with alternate site camps once again and push the Class AAA season back a month, according to an MLB official with direct knowledge of the situation.
The official spoke to USA TODAY Sports on the condition of anonymity because the league had not made the decision public and said it was always the intention to open the season with alternate sites in case of potential COVID-19 outbreaks.
The players from the alternate camps will be in close proximity to the home clubs, just like during last year’s 60-game season, which could lead to fewer cancellations.
They can now be frequently tested while following safety and health protocols in the event of being called up to the major league club without needing to be quarantined.
The month-long delay to start the Triple-A season, which was originally scheduled for April 6, provides an extra month to vaccinate the players while allowing the possibility for increased attendance at the minor-league parks, the official said. The season will now extend for several weeks into mid-September.
The Triple-A season now will begin about the same time as the lower minor leagues (May 4), but the schedules have not been finalized.
MLB officials wanted its season also pushed back a month, playing a 154-game season with full pay, but the players union rejected the proposal. They did not need approval from the union to delay the minor league season.
ESPN first reported news of the Triple-A season delay.