Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI

Major League Baseball owners reportedly approved a plan that could start the coronavirus-delayed season around the Fourth of July in ballparks without fans. Spring training could start in early-to-mid June and the National League would use a designated hitter during the 2020 season. The plan must be approved by the player’s union which could happen as early as later this week. The plan needs to be signed off by top medical officials in the U.S. Government.

Each team would play an 82-game regular season with most teams playing games in their own divisions and interleague not going past regional matchups such as AL East vs. NL East, AL Central vs. NL Central and AL West vs. NL West. The postseason would expand to 14 teams by doubling the number of wild cards in each league to four.

The reasons for using the DH could be two-fold. The first reason could be with a shortened ramp up to the season, starting pitchers may not be able to go more than three or four innings to start. That could lead to a depletion of the bench using pinch hitters and double switches. The second reason is there has been discussions about using the DH in the National League, but the notion has never gone past more than discussions. This allows MLB to experiment with the plan during a shorter season