Major League Baseball extended pay for minor-leagues through May 31 or the start of the minor-league season — whichever begins first — amid the coronavirus pandemic, the league announced Tuesday.
Players will continue to receive a paycheck and medical benefits. The program was originally set to last until April 8, but with no idea of when baseball will resume, the league opted to extend the date.
“We will continue to monitor ongoing events and undertake the precautions and best practices recommended by public health experts and urge all baseball fans to follow suit,” MLB said in a statement. “MLB extends its best wishes to all the individuals and communities who have been impacted by the coronavirus.”
Earlier this month, Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said it was important to him that minor league players still be paid throughout this time. He recalled his days with the Class-A Redwood Pioneers, making $850 a month in 1984.
MLB teams have set a base allowance of $400 per week for minor-league players, though teams are allowed to increase that if they wish.
Rizzo said he and the Lerners, who own the Nationals, would work with MLB to extend pay beyond the first week of April.
“It’s something that we’re going to be aggressive with here with the Nationals since it is so near and dear to my heart and to the Lerners,” Rizzo said. “We are going to work with MLB diligently to get that done. Hey, there are still a lot of unknowns, and our leadership team is working tirelessly to make sure our organization is handling this situation the best we can. It’s a very, very fluid situation.”
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