Major League Baseball is reportedly finalizing a policy that will require all minor league players to be vaccinated by the start of the 2022 season, according to Hannah Keyser of Yahoo Sports.
The league cannot mandate vaccine for major leaguers without an agreement from the players association, but minor leaguers do not have union representation. That allows the commissioner's office to make unilateral decisions regarding the more than 3,000 players.
MLB did offer more relaxed protocols for fully vaccinated major leaguers in 2021, including permission to eat at restaurants. Teams with at least 85 percent of personnel vaccinated could also eliminate social distancing and mask requirements.
According to Keyser, 24 of the league's 30 teams reached the 85-percent threshold while the Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs, New York Mets, Seattle Mariners, Arizona Diamondbacks and Kansas City Royals all fell short.
MLB has also required non-playing personnel, including managers and coaches, to be vaccinated in order to gain access to the field for the 2021 postseason, per Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic.
The mandate for minor leaguers would be the next step to ensure a high vaccination rate across baseball.