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MLB cancels 3 more days of spring training games

Earliest start date for spring games is March 8

MLB: Spring Training-Cincinnati Reds at Los Angeles Dodgers Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

As labor negotiations continue with only incremental progress, Major League Baseball canceled three more days of spring training games on Friday, pushing back the start of spring training until March 8.

For now, talks continue in Jupiter, Florida, with owners imposing a deadline of February 28, after which regular season games would be canceled if no deal was struck. That deadline is an arbitrary choice by the owners, which thus far has served as yet another thing on which the two sides don’t agree.

“Players have not accepted Monday as a deadline and have suggested any missed games could be made up as part of doubleheaders, a method MLB said it will not agree to,” wrote Ronald Blum at the Associated Press on Thursday.

The cancellation of three extra days came from multiple reporters on site for the labor negotiations in Florida. The March 8 spring start is also contingent on a deal being struck by Monday’s MLB-imposed deadline.

Spring training games were originally scheduled to start on February 26, but the league on February 18 canceled the first week of games. The Dodgers have a scheduled off day on March 8.

That makes 11 Dodgers spring games canceled to date, with 19 Cactus League games remaining in Arizona, plus three Freeway Series games against the Angels in Anaheim and Los Angeles, over a span totaling 21 days.

Should the start of the regular season get postponed, one might expect the exhibition schedule extended. At the conclusion of MLB owners meetings on February 10, commissioner Rob Manfred said a four-week spring training would be ideal in order for players to prepare for the regular season.