Major League Baseball has opted to delay the Triple A season at least one month amid COVID-19 concerns, according to ESPN's Jeff Passan.
Triple A games were slated to begin on April 6. However, the season opener won't be held until May 1 at the earliest. Its schedule is now slated to mirror Double-A and Class A, per Passan. MLB's opening day will still be held on April 1.
"This is a prudent step to complete the major league and minor league seasons as safely as possible," MLB executive Morgan Sword told Passan. "We look forward to having fans back in ballparks across the country very soon."
Minor league players will now report to alternate sites run by their organization's MLB team ahead of opening day. Alternate sites were used throughout the 2020 season as players continued to workout and train despite the absence of live games.
Travel concerns played a significant role in the decision to delay the Triple A season. Triple A teams travel via commercial airline, creating a greater risk of contracting COVID-19 compared to MLB teams that use private planes. There is also a hope that delaying the season will allow more players to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, which would limit "concerns with teams about players arriving from minor league sites and immediately joining clubs without a quarantine period," per Passan.
The 2021 Triple A season is expected to now run through part of September due to the delay. The season typically ends at the start of September, allowing prospects to join MLB rosters for a potential playoff push.