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Scrappers play put on hold

Minor leagues to take year off

Mahoning Valley Scrappers outfielders Gabriel Mejia (27), left, and Hosea Nelson (2) tap gloves as they run off the field at the end of the fifth inning after Mejia made a nice catch to close out the inning against the West Virginia Black Bears in 2018. There is no Minor League Baseball season this summer, including the Scrappers, because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Staff file photo / R. Michael Semple

As Major League Baseball continues planning for an abbreviated season to start in late July — without fans at the ballparks — the plug was pulled Tuesday on Minor League Baseball, including the Mahoning Valley Scrappers.

MLB informed Minor League Baseball, which has acted as an important developmental tool for the big leagues for more than a century, that it will not be providing players for the 2020 season because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“While we are incredibly disappointed that we are unable to play the 2020 season, we can now focus on planning an exciting season of Scrappers baseball at Eastwood Field in 2021,” Jordan Taylor, vice president of HWS Baseball and Scrappers general manager, said.

The National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues, the minor league governing body, made the long-expected announcement.

“These are unprecedented times for our country and our organization, as this is the first time in our history that we’ve had a summer without minor league baseball played,” National Association President Pat O’Conner said. “While this is a sad day for many, this announcement removes the uncertainty surrounding the 2020 season and allows our teams to begin planning for an exciting 2021 season of affordable family entertainment.”

There remains doubt about the 2021 season for some minor league clubs. The Professional Baseball Agreement between the majors and the minors expires after this season, and MLB has proposed reducing the minimum affiliates from 160 to 120.

For this season, MLB already has told clubs to compile expanded 60-player pools, of which 30 players can be on an active roster during the first two weeks of the season.

The Scrappers will announce an exchange policy within the next week. It will be posted on the club’s website (www.mvscrappers.com) and social media platforms. The policy will be an online process; there will be no in-person exchanges. A Scrappers representative will be in contact with all sponsors and ticket package holders with available options.

sports@tribtoday.com

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