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Baseball notebook

Major League Baseball releases 2021 schedule early

When the Yankees and Mets meet next season on the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks, it will be the first time the teams will ever have faced each other on Sept. 11.
When the Yankees and Mets meet next season on the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks, it will be the first time the teams will ever have faced each other on Sept. 11.DON EMMERT/AFP via Getty Images

Major League Baseball will open the 2021 season on April 1 and hopes to have every team play its first game on the same day for the first time since 1968.

The league released the full schedule Thursday, two weeks before it plans to begin a 2020 season that's been delayed and shortened by the coronavirus pandemic. MLB intended to start this season on March 26, its earliest opening date ever except for international games.

The league also hoped to have all 30 clubs play on the same opening day this season, but that was spoiled when commissioner Rob Manfred suspended spring training in March.

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Instead, a 60-game regular season is scheduled to begin July 23, with clubs set to play only division foes and regional interleague opponents — AL East vs. NL East, AL Central vs. NL Central, AL West vs. NL West — to limit travel.

Clubs will resume full intraleague schedules in 2021, and interleague play will again align regionally.

The New York Mets will host the crosstown Yankees at Citi Field on the 20th anniversary of 9/11, the first time the Subway Series will take place on Sept. 11. The Yankees will host the Mets during Fourth of July weekend.

Atlanta will host the 91st All-Star Game on July 13 at Truist Park. It's Atlanta's first All-Star Game since hosting in 2000 at Turner Field.

MLB also tried to have every team play its first game on the same day in 2018, but two games were postponed because of poor weather.

The last day of the season will be Oct. 3.

West reaction

Umpire Joe West faced backlash earlier this week after he said he doesn’t believe all the deaths attributed to COVID-19 were from the virus.

The Major League Baseball Umpires Association stepped back from West’s comments with a statement on Thursday.

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“Recent public comments about the current coronavirus pandemic do not in any way reflect the position of the Major League Baseball Umpires Association,” the statement said. “Our nation, and our world, has suffered greatly from this deadly virus. In the midst of continued suffering umpires are attempting to do our part to bring the great game of baseball back onto the field and into the homes of fans everywhere.”

Reyes apologizes

Cleveland Indians outfielder Franmil Reyes apologized for putting himself and his teammates at risk by not wearing a mask or practicing social distancing at a weekend holiday party.

The club kept Reyes away from its training camp after he was spotted on social media attending a Fourth of July get-together. Reyes had to be retested for COVID-19 and cleared by team medical personnel before he was allowed to practice.

“I really apologize, because I was not protecting myself and my teammates,” Reyes said on a Zoom call from Progressive Field. “I learned from it and it won’t happen again. I really don’t want to stop practicing. I really apologize and I swear it won’t happen again.”

This will be his first full season with the Indians, who acquired him last year in a trade with the Padres. The 25-year-old slugger hit a combined 37 homers last year for San Diego and Cleveland and may get some playing time in right field.

Feeling better

Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said All-Star slugger Joey Gallo and lefthanded reliever Brett Martin are feeling good but still haven’t been cleared to start working out with the team.

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Both tested positive for the coronavirus during intake testing last week. Daniels said Gallo was still asymptomatic and that Martin, who has Type 1 diabetes, is feeling better every day after initially having mild symptoms, including congestion and fatigue.

“I am hopeful they won’t be out much longer,” Daniels said.