Major League Baseball owners and players struck a tentative labor deal on Thursday, likely saving a full 162-game season this spring and summer.
The league’s website reported the tentative pact and said regular season games could start April 7.
It wasn’t immediately clear when all owners and union members may vote on the deal crafted by negotiators.
Even though MLB will miss its originally scheduled March 31 Opening Day, the deal now gives schedule makers a chance to fit 162 games for each club between now and the end of September.
MLB’s website reported the agreement will be for five years and include a handful of on-the-field rule changes.
The playoffs will reportedly expand to 12 teams, altering a 10-team format in place since 2012.
All games are now expected to have a designated hitter, meaning a full-time hitter will bat for the pitcher. The American League has used a DH since 1973, but the National League had stuck with the old rules.
Since the most recent collective bargaining agreement expired Dec. 1, owners have stopped all off-season transactions — such as trades and free-agent signings — and barred players from training in team facilities.
A 162-game schedule for all MLB teams was first set in 1962, and there’s only a handful of times that clubs have fallen short of a full slate.
That work stoppage spilled in 1995, forcing a regular season of just 144 games.
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