Report: MLB to Propose Using Universal DH for 2020 Season Amid Safety Concerns

Megan ArmstrongSenior Analyst IIMay 10, 2020

CLEARWATER, FL - FEBRUARY 24: Baseballs sit in a basket prior to the start of a spring training game between the Philadelphia Phillies and the Baltimore Orioles at Spectrum Field on February 24, 2020 in Clearwater, Florida. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)
Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

The National League will use a designated hitter if MLB moves forward with the plan the players' union is expected to pitch as early as Tuesday, according to the New York Post's Joel Sherman.

Sherman relayed that using a designated hitter universally is "in part to protect pitchers who will have to ramp up to pitch in a shortened second spring."

He continued:

"The best hope is that training will open in June in a combination of home parks and spring training sites, last three weeks and a regular season will open about July 1. The current plan calls for either 78 or 82 games, regional play by which teams play exclusively in their division and their crossover division (thus, AL East vs. NL East) to limit travel and both the rosters and the playoffs are expanded—I heard a strong possibility of 30 players available daily with a 20-player taxi squad staying ready if needed and a postseason of 14 teams rather than 10."

The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal first reported MLB's proposed plan.

ESPN's Jeff Passan also provided context, noting "an optimistic" timetable of spring training restarting June 10 and games beginning July 1:

Jeff Passan @JeffPassan

Went on @GetUpESPN this morning to talk about the latest on how baseball could proceed as it tries to return and why playing in home stadiums has become the preferred option of many in the game. For more details, check out the news story at ESPN dot com: https://t.co/fHiasxlS1A https://t.co/v6hT4WjudT

The Athletic's Molly Knight reported earlier Sunday the results of COVID-19 antibody tests administered on MLB employees:

Molly Knight @molly_knight

Everybody is doing their best. MLB wants to play ball this year. They are adjusting and reacting to ever changing information about when it might be safe to resume certain activities just like the rest of us.

The Athletic MLB @TheAthleticMLB

A Stanford study that tested 5,603 MLB employees for COVID-19 antibodies found a positive rate of 0.7%, lower than expected. Angels, Mets and Yankees employees had the highest rates, though still lower than those counties overall. More from @molly_knight: https://t.co/CHXKulbvF6

Former MLB utility man Trevor Plouffe has been vocal about the fluid situation:

Trevor Plouffe @trevorplouffe

Want some good baseball news?? I just heard from multiple sources that on June 10th, Spring Training 2 will start. July 1st will be Opening Day and all teams will be playing at their home ballparks. We’ll be discussing it in full on the next @TalkinBaseball_

Trevor Plouffe @trevorplouffe

I have texts from players in 6 different orgs telling me that they are being told to be ready for those dates. https://t.co/WNKfWqiEEc

The 2020 season was originally scheduled to begin March 26, but the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic forced the league to cancel spring training and delay Opening Day on March 12.

MLB agreed to allow all 30 clubs the option to provide fans ticket refunds for postponed games.