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MLB Adopts 7-Inning Doubleheaders Due to Coronavirus Outbreaks

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Los Angeles Dodgers’ Justin Turner connects for a single against the Cincinnati Reds during the first inning of a spring training baseball game Monday, March 2, 2020, in Goodyear, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

With several games being postponed this weekend, the MLB finds itself in a position of having to reschedule those at some point to fit in its reduced 60-game schedule.

Now, in an effort not to exhaust its players from squeezing in those makeup games, the league has announced it is allowing for seven-inning doubleheaders effective this weekend.

The MLB Players’ Association joined the MLB in making Friday’s announcement.

“Given the frequency of doubleheaders, the effects of doubleheaders on rosters, and the need to reschedule games due to dynamic circumstances, both the Clubs and the Players have determined that this step promotes player health and safety,” MLB and the MLBPA said in a joint statement.

There is one doubleheader currently scheduled in the majors. In that one, the St. Louis Cardinals will play the Milwaukee Brewers twice on Sunday, after Friday’s game was postponed.

Meanwhile, Saturday’s Toronto Blue JaysPhiladelphia Phillies twin bill was postponed when two Phillies staffers tested positive for COVID-19.

If games as part of a doubleheader end up being tied after seven innings, the MLB’s new extra inning rule of placing a base runner at second base will go into effect.

Seven-inning twin bills are already common in the minors and other levels of baseball.

More doubleheaders could be necessary this season, due to more players and teams having COVID-19 outbreaks.

The Marlins have not played a game since last Sunday and are not scheduled to return to play until Tuesday.

The outbreak involving the Marlins also ended up forcing the Phillies to postpone four of their games this week.