June 22 (Reuters) - Major League Baseball players on Monday voted overwhelmingly against a proposal to play a shortened 60-game season amid the COVID-19 outbreak.
According to multiple reports, the MLB Players Association sub-committee voted 33-5 to reject the proposal.
MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred can now intervene and set a schedule for the 2020 season as per an agreement that was reached in late March.
“Earlier this evening the full Board reaffirmed the players’ eagerness to return to work as soon and as safely as possible,” MLBPA said in a statement.
“To that end, we anticipate finalizing a comprehensive set of health and safety protocols with Major League Baseball in the coming days, and we await word from the league on the resumption of spring training camps and a proposed 2020 schedule.
“While we had hoped to reach a revised back to work agreement with the league, the players remain fully committed to proceeding under our current agreement and getting back on the field for the fans, for the game and for each other.”
Other aspects of the proposal that were denied included a call for an expanded post-season and no additional salary guarantees should the season be canceled due to COVID-19.
MLB and the players’ union have been trying to find common ground on a return-to-play plan for the 2020 season but have been unable to reach agreement in areas like player compensation and the number of games played.
Manfred said two weeks ago he was “100%” sure there would be a 2020 season but dramatically shifted his tone last Monday and said he was “not confident” a campaign would happen after the union broke off talks.
Manfred then said he met with MLBPA Executive Director Tony Clark last Tuesday where the two put together the framework of a deal to salvage a 2020 season during a meeting in Phoenix that lasted several hours.
MLB was scheduled to open its 162-game regular season in late March but delayed the campaign due to the pandemic. (Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; editing by Ken Ferris)