Last year Major League Baseball played a shortened season despite a number of Covid related issues.
As the MLB prepares for a new season, they have made a number of changes to the schedule including limiting travel and game schedules.
Spring training takes place in Arizona and Florida; frequently some of the teams play exhibition games with college teams; many of the those games have been cancelled for the 2021 season. Have also
Split squad games – often used in evaluating players – have also been cancelled for this season.
Florida teams are considering following the practice of the Arizona teams and have the players dress for the games and take batting practice at home before traveling to the exhibition games already ready to play.
While pitchers and catchers are already working out, spring training officially opens on February 28 with opening day starting April 1.
To help cut down on travel, the Grapefruit League – Florida teams – have been divided into three groups:
The East Coast group are the Houston Astros, Miami Marlins, New York Mets, St Louis Cardinals, and the Washington Nationals.
The West Coast group are the Baltimore Orioles, Detroit Tigers, New York Yankees, Philadelphia Phillies, Pittsburgh Pirates, and Toronto Blue Jays.
The Southwest Florida group are the Atlanta Braves, Boston Red Sox, Minnesota Twins, and Tampa Bay Rays. The Orioles and Pirates are also a part of this group.
Last season the Toronto Blue Jays played their games in Buffalo at the home of their AAA team the Bisons because of the borders being closed and to help with travel issues. So far, there is no word as to where the Blue Jays will play this season.
After having their season cancelled last season, the MLB has realigned their minor leagues. The AAA teams have been split into two divisions; while the AA, High A, and Low A teams have been divided into three divisions.
The divisions have not yet been named and are currently using locations to identify the groups- AAA East and West; AA Central, Northeast, and South; High-A Central, East, and West; and Low-A East Southeast, and West.
Currently the AAA teams are set to play 144 games with an April start; however, pandemic issues may change the opening dates.
The AA teams are set to play 138 games; while the A teams will play 132 games with a start in early May.