Spring Training games to begin no sooner than March 8

Detroit Tigers

One week after pushing back the start of the exhibition season, Major League Baseball announced that Spring Training games in both the Grapefruit and Cactus Leagues will not be played until at least March 8.

The previous delay addressed games up until March 4, and an MLB spokesperson told reporters on Friday afternoon that the games on March 5-7 will not be played. MLB and the MLB Players Association continue to meet in Jupiter, Fla., this weekend with the hope of hammering out a new collective bargaining agreement.

The two sides have been meeting in Jupiter since Monday. MLB has instituted a deadline of Monday to complete a deal in order for the regular season to open as scheduled on March 31, leaving the league and the players union three more days to work out a deal.

Commissioner Rob Manfred said earlier this month that, based on injury data and the experience of the 2020 pandemic-shortened season, Spring Training should be at least four weeks long in order for players to properly prepare for the season.

Thursday, the MLBPA made a pair of proposals on the Draft lottery and a plan to fight service time manipulation, but the sides remained far apart on key issues including the competitive balance tax, Super Two eligibility, minimum salaries and a dollar figure for a pre-arbitration bonus pool.

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