ORLANDO, Fla. — Despite ongoing labor negotiations that appear to be at a standstill, Major League Baseball's spring training is currently still scheduled to begin later this month.
That was the message from Commissioner Rob Manfred during a news conference held Thursday in Orlando.
"The status of spring training is no change, right now," Manfred said.
Teams are expected to report to their respective sights in Florida and Arizona starting Feb. 16.
Despite this slice of optimism, the lockout is stretching into its 71st day.
Negotiations between MLB and the Players Association are scheduled to resume Saturday for just the fifth time since the labor contract expired in early December.
"We want to reach a fair agreement with the Players Association, and we want to do that quickly," Manfred said. "We have moved toward the players on key areas in an effort to address their concerns."
At the last bargaining session on core economics, on Feb. 1, the union lowered its proposed pool of money for pre-arbitration-eligible players from $105 million to $100 million.
The union also cut the number of players it wants to be credited with an additional year of major league service to the top 20 at each position in each league by WAR, or the top seven, depending on position, down from 30 and 10.
The commissioner said he remains hopeful that the regular season will start on March 31.
"I'm an optimist, and I believe we will have an agreement in time to play our regular schedule," Manfred said. "We're doing everything we can to get a deal done for our fans."
However, he said that missing regular-season games would be a "disastrous outcome."