The Rochester Red Wings and Syracuse Mets return to play must wait a little bit longer.
Major League baseball informed its Triple-A clubs that the start of the season will be pushed back at least a month.
ESPN’s Jeff Passan first broke the story.
Instead of playing a Triple-A season, big league teams will operate alternate sites just as they did last season. Those alternate sites will play host to a “practice squad” of players that could be called up in lieu of Triple-A teams operating.
Alternate sites are coming back — and the AAA season, which was scheduled to begin April 6, will be delayed for at least a month, sources tell ESPN.
News at ESPN on the reason for delay, the wait for vaccines and how this alt site will differ from 2020's: https://t.co/zRRT6mn7Nz
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) March 2, 2021
Frontier Field was the site for the Toronto Blue Jays alternate site in 2020, but it will be vacant this time around. Toronto is opening the season in Florida and will keep their practice squad much closer. Same goes for the Wings new parent club in Washington.
Minor league games are now expected to start at the beginning of May. That was always the plan for the Double-A, High-A, and Low-A levels. Triple-A is now on the same timeline.
The primary motivation for the change is Covid safety. It makes more sense for MLB to delay the minor league season at all levels rather than try to force games at stadiums without the space and resources to accommodate all the necessary Covid precautions.