If Manfred has his way, America’s pastime will be back some time in May.
“We’ll have to make a determination depending on what the precise date is as to how much of a preparation period we need,” Manfred told ESPN on Wednesday.
“Baseball will be back,” Manfred said. “Whenever it’s safe to play, we’ll be back. And our fans will be back.”
MLB shut down spring training as most professional sports leagues went on hiatus because of the coronavirus, and spring training likely would have to take place before the regular season were to begin.
Mandfred also said MLB is “probably not gonna be able to do” a 162-game season. “I think that’s clear,” he said.
Making matters more challenging for Manfred during MLB’s coronavirus-imposed hiatus, the league and the players union also are in the middle of negotiating a collective bargaining agreement, with its current one slated to expire in December 2021.
Baseball has had a few coronavirus cases as two Yankees minor leaguers and one Boston Red Sox minor leaguer have tested positive for the illness.
As for the Red Sox probe, it has become just one of a never-ending list of sporting matters to be affected by the pandemic.
Manfred said he “frankly have not had time to turn to” report his findings into whether the Red Sox cheated during the 2018 World Series season by stealing signs electronically.
Manfred said the investigation was wrapped up and that the report will be released just in time for whenever baseball starts back up.
The Red Sox were investigated after MLB confirmed a whistleblower’s account that the Astros electronically stole signs during the season they won the World Series in 2017 and during parts of the 2018 season.
Houston was fined $5 million, and fired its manager and general manager after both were suspended by MLB for not stopping the cheating scandal.
But it is unlikely the Red Sox will face as harsh a penalty because this case lacks a whistleblower and video footage, both of which helped implicate the Astros.
Alex Cora, who took over as Red Sox manager in 2018, already was fired after he was found to be involved in the Astros ring while the team’s bench coach. MLB will likely issue Cora a suspension.
A lawyer for the Red Sox last week denied the team electronically stole signs, as part of a class-action suit brought on by a DraftKings bettor who claimed the Red Sox and Astros created an unfair gambling advantage.