Major League Baseball called off the first week of spring-training games Friday and announced it will begin daily negotiating sessions Monday with the Major League Baseball Players Association in hopes of reaching a deal to avoid delaying the start of the 2022 regular season.
“We regret that, without a collective bargaining agreement in place, we must postpone the start of spring training games until no earlier than Saturday, March 5th,’’ the league said in a release. “All 30 clubs are unified in their strong desire to bring players back to the field and fans back to the stands. The clubs have adopted a uniform policy that provides an option for full refunds for fans who have purchased tickets from the clubs to any spring training games that are not taking place.
“We are committed to reaching an agreement that is fair to each side. On Monday, members of the owners’ bargaining committee will join an in-person meeting with the Players Association and remain every day next week to negotiate and work hard towards starting the season on time.”
MLB has informed the players union that a deal must be struck to end the lockout by Feb. 28 to preserve the start of the regular season on March 31.
“MLB announced today that it ‘must’ postpone the start of spring training games. This is false,” the players union said in a statement. “Nothing requires the league to delay the start of spring training, much like nothing required the league’s decision to implement the lockout in the first place. Despite these decisions by the league, Players remain committed to the negotiating process.”
The two sides have met only six times since MLB imposed the lockout at midnight Dec. 1.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: MLB lockout: First week of spring training games canceled