MLB players to wear electronic tracers, face discipline

FILE - In this July 24, 2020, file photo, empty seats are viewed in Busch Stadium as St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Jack Flaherty throws in the first inning baseball game against the Pittsburgh Pirates in St. Louis. Major League Baseball players rejected a proposal to delay the start of spring training and the season due to the coronavirus pandemic, vowing Monday, Feb. 1, 2021, to report under the original schedule. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File)
FILE - In this July 24, 2020, file photo, empty seats are viewed in Busch Stadium as St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Jack Flaherty throws in the first inning baseball game against the Pittsburgh Pirates in St. Louis. Major League Baseball players rejected a proposal to delay the start of spring training and the season due to the coronavirus pandemic, vowing Monday, Feb. 1, 2021, to report under the original schedule. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

NEW YORK – Major League Baseball players, on-field staff and non-playing personnel who require access to them at ballparks must wear electronic tracing wristbands from the start of spring training and face discipline for violations.

Players will be encouraged to get vaccines but are not required to get them.

That was part of upgraded health protocols agreed to by Major League Baseball and the players’ association to deal with the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The 108-page operations manual, agreed to Monday night and obtained by The Associated Press, expands on the 101-page version used during the shortened 2020 season.

“Every covered Individual must wear a Kinexon contact tracing device at all times while in club facilities and during club directed travel and while engaged in team activities, including group workouts and practices,” the manual says. “Repeated failure to wear the devices or repeated failure to return the devices to the Kinexon device docking station may be a basis for discipline,” the manual says.

The manual states violations of the MLB or club codes of conduct or of spring training home quarantine “are subject to potential discipline, including but not limited to suspension or forfeiture of salary for days spent away from the club while in mandatory self-isolation or quarantine resulting from the violation.”

Player discipline would be subject to the just cause provisions of the collective bargaining agreement.

“Vaccination for COVID-19 will be voluntary for all players. However, MLB and the MLBPA will strongly encourage players to undergo vaccination at the appropriate time,” the manual states.