If Major League Baseball is indeed able to begin a season later this summer, teams are expected to be allowed 29-man rosters for the first month of the truncated campaign, per USA Today’s Bob Nightengale (Twitter link).
It’s a sensible temporary solution in light of the fact that clubs wouldn’t be afforded the traditional six-week run-up to the season that Spring Training provides. Permitting all 30 clubs to carry an extra three players — standard roster size was already slated to expand from 25 to 26 this season — will help clubs to manage pitcher workloads early in the year. And, with the expected addition of frequent doubleheaders, an extra player or two on the bench would allow managers to more easily rest regulars who are dealing with minor injuries or simply need a breather.
Whether the league would place any restrictions on the number of pitchers isn’t yet known, but clubs had previously been capped at a maximum of 13 pitchers. It’s also not clear whether a 30th player would be permissible on the day of a twin bill (as was the case in allowing a 26th man in previous seasons). The specifics of roster expansion and the format of a rebooted “spring” training are among the many items that still need to be hammered out even after MLB and the MLBPA reached an agreement on service time, player salaries and the 2020 draft last night.