Dodgers pitchers and catchers will report to spring training at Camelback Ranch in Glendale, Arizona on Wednesday, Feb. 17, with their first workout one day later. Position players are set to report a few days later, with the first full-squad workout on Tuesday, Feb. 23.
The Dodgers’ first Cactus League game is scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 27 against the Cubs in Mesa, with LA’s first home game the next day against the Rangers at Camelback Ranch.
It’s been rumored dating back a few months that the start of spring training and the majors league season could be delayed, given the prevalence of COVID-19. In December a National League owner told Bob Nightengale of USA Today, “I don’t see a snowball’s chance in hell that spring training can start with protocols in place.”
But with no national emergency officially declared at the moment, and other professional sports leagues holding their games in several states, including Arizona and Florida — albeit with limited or no fans — there isn’t much of a mechanism to push back the start of the season, at least without negotiation between major league players and owners.
Both MLB and the Players Association told Evan Drellich at The Athletic on January 3: that they expected both spring training and the regular season to begin on time:
“As we’ve made clear to the league on multiple occasions, we expect Spring Training and the Regular Season to start on time and as scheduled, consistent with our CBA,” the Players Association said in a statement. “The league does not have the authority or legal basis to unilaterally delay or shorten the schedule without Players’ consent. While there will continue to be challenges, our Players have proven they can safely play a season under difficult circumstances, as have the other sports. The Commissioner’s Office has assured us that they have instructed the Clubs to prepare for an on time start.”
On January 22, the Cactus League sent a letter to Major League Baseball asking to delay the start of spring training by a month, in order to get COVID-19 cases down in Arizona. But not only is that something that requires agreement between MLB owners and the players association, which the MLBPA reiterated with a statement in response. Then, Alex Coffey at The Athletic on January 26 reported that Major League Baseball encouraged the Cactus League to send said letter, further muddying the waters in the owner-player dynamic.
But for now, things are moving forward as planned, with the Dodgers reporting to spring training beginning on Feb. 17.
Opening Day for 2021 is scheduled for Thursday, April 1, with the Dodgers beginning defense of their championship at Coors Field against the Rockies.