MLB 60-game season to start late July

MLB and its players' association have agreed to a shortened 60-game 2020 season

Major League Baseball has issued a 60-game schedule that will start on July 23 or 24 in empty ballparks as the sport tries to push ahead amid the coronavirus pandemic and after months of acrimony.

The MLB Players Association approved the 66-day regular season, the shortest since 1878, after the union and clubs finalised health and safety protocols on Tuesday evening.

Players will receive full pro-rated pay for the season, working out to about 37 per cent of their salaries,

"All remaining issues have been resolved and players are reporting to training camps,the union tweeted.

Players will begin workouts by July 1.

According to MLB, "The vast majority of (teams) are expected to conduct training at the ballparks in their primary home cities."

Commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement: "Major League Baseball is thrilled to announce that the 2020 season is on the horizon.

"We have provided the players association with a schedule to play 60 games and are excited to provide our great fans with baseball again soon."

Each team will play 10 games against each of their four division rivals and four games against each of the five clubs in the corresponding division in the other league, according to details obtained by The Associated Press.

The number of play-off teams will remain at 10, though that still could change.

In a twist, the sides expanded the designated hitter to games involving National League teams and instituted the radical innovation of starting extra innings with a runner on second base.

The trade deadline will be August 31 and the deadline for post-season eligibility is September 15.

MLB is keeping the innovation of the three-batter minimum for pitchers, but decided to keep the injured list minimum for pitchers at 10 days rather than revert to 15, as initially intended.

But the new rule remains in place that a pitcher must face at least three batters or finish the half inning.