WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Major League Baseball revamped its spring training exhibition schedule because of the pandemic, cutting travel for Florida-based teams in an effort to minimize coronavirus risks.
Fifteen MLB teams call Florida home during spring training, including four in Palm Beach County (Houston Astros, St. Louis Cardinals, Miami Marlins and Washington Nationals) and one on the Treasure Coast (New York Mets).
The Grapefruit League teams on Florida's eastern coast will now play 24 games in 30 days. They will play each other exclusively.
Those teams on Florida's Gulf coast will be split into two groups. The Detroit Tigers, New York Yankees, Philadelphia Phillies and Toronto Blue Jays will play in one group, while the Atlanta Braves, Boston Red Sox, Minnesota Twins and Tampa Bay Rays will play in another group. They'll play each other in 28 games over a 30-day span.
College baseball teams were dropped from the revised schedules because they are not subject to major league testing protocols.
Also eliminated were split-squad games, which are traditionally used in the first half of the exhibition season to allow evaluation of more players.
Pitchers and catchers start reporting for spring training Wednesday and the exhibition season starts Feb. 28, two days later than initially announced in September.
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The Astros and Nationals play at the Ballpark of the Palm Beaches in West Palm Beach. A notice on the stadium's website said anyone "who purchased tickets to originally scheduled games will automatically receive a refund."
The St. Louis Cardinals and Miami Marlins spend their springs at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium in Jupiter, but ticket sales were postponed until MLB determined how to proceed.
The Mets play at Clover Park in Port St. Lucie. Ticket information was not yet available.