Los Angeles Dodger pitchers and catchers held their first official spring training workout of 2021 Thursday in Glendale, Arizona, under what Major League Baseball is billing as enhanced set of health and safety protocols intended to reduce the spread of the coronavirus.
The defending World Series champions are set to hold their first full squad workout Tuesday and begin spring training play Feb. 28 against the Oakland Athletics in Mesa, Arizona.
The Dodgers are scheduled to play in Southern California for the first time this year on March 28 in a Freeway Series game at Angel Stadium against the Los Angeles Angels, with the first game of 2021 at Dodger Stadium the following day against the Angels. The Dodgers will open the regular season April 1 against the Colorado Rockies in Denver and play their home opener April 9 against the Washington Nationals.
With 2020 National League Cy Young Award winner Trevor Bauer joining a pitching staff that had the best ERA in baseball in 2020, the Dodgers are the favorite to win a second consecutive World Series title, a feat they have never accomplished.
The baseball statistics and analysis website FanGraphs gives the Dodgers a 19.9% chance of winning the World Series. The New York Yankees are second at 18.6% and the San Diego Padres third at 11.6%.
FanGraphs projects the Dodgers will win 97 games, and win a ninth consecutive National League West title by three games over the Padres. It also says the Dodgers have a 97.9% chance of qualifying for the playoffs and a 64.8% chance of winning the National League West.
Baseball Prospectus’ proprietary PECOTA system projects the Dodgers will win 104 games, the most in MLB, finish nine games ahead of San Diego and have a 83.3% chance of winning the division.
Players were required to quarantine at home for five days before reporting for spring training as part of intake screening with the exception of performing essential activities or for approved individual outdoor exercise and workouts followed by diagnostic/PCR and antibody/serology testing.
Individuals must self-quarantine and may not access club facilities until their intake screening results are reported.
Other changes to the health and safety protocols include:
— Beginning in spring training and continuing through the regular season and postseason, covered individuals may not attend indoor gatherings of 10 or more people, indoor restaurants, bars and lounges, fitness and wellness centers, entertainment venues, casinos or any other activity prohibited by state or local governments;
— For spring training, covered individuals and any members of their household must quarantine at home with the exception of club-directed baseball activities at club facilities, travel with the team, individual outdoor physical activity and receiving medical care;
— Face coverings must be properly worn at all times when in club facilities and in the dugout, other than for players on the field during a game or during pre-game warm-ups. Each club will appoint at least one face mask enforcement officer and automatic fines will be issued for non-compliance during games, with fines collected donated to charity.
— Any covered individuals who are found to have violated the Code of Conduct are subject to potential discipline, including suspension or forfeiture of salary for days spent away from the club while in mandatory self-isolation or quarantine resulting from the violation.
MLB made what it calls “significant changes to the contact tracing process” to reflect changes in guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and medical experts, and experiences from last season and experiences of other leagues over the past year.
Kinexon contact tracing devices must be worn at all times while in club facilities, during club-directed travel and while engaged in team activities including group workouts and practices.
A covered individual who has been identified as having been in close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 will be subject to a mandatory quarantine of seven days and must test negative on day five or later among other requirements to rejoin club facilities. Additional monitoring precautions for individuals who are not designated as close contacts will also be required.