MLB

MLB spring training 2021: games, dates and schedule

The 30 teams in Major League Baseball have returned for spring training, ahead of the start of the regular season in April.

MLB 2021 spring training: games, dates and schedule
MITCHELL LEFF AFP

Ahead of the start of the 2021 Major League Baseball (MLB) season, which is due to get underway in five weeks’ time, all 30 league clubs have now begun spring training in Arizona and Florida.

When did players report for 2021 spring training?

Pitchers and catchers began reporting on Wednesday 17 February, while the first full-squad work-outs took place on Monday or Tuesday this week, depending on the club.

This CBS Sports overview offers details of exactly when each MLB club returned to training.

What’s the spring training games schedule?

Spring training games are scheduled to start on Saturday 28 February.

The 15 Cactus League teams training in Arizona will all play each other twice between then and 29 March. Meanwhile, the 15 Grapefruit League clubs doing spring training in Florida will be split into regional groups, so as to minimise travel amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The five teams whose training camps are on the east coast of Florida - the Houston Astros, the Miami Marlins, the New York Mets, the St Louis Cardinals and the Washington Nationals - will each play 24 games against one another over 30 days, while the clubs on the state’s west coast will be divided into two sections.

The Detroit Tigers, the New York Yankees, the Philadelphia Phillies and the Toronto Blue Jays will play each other in one group, while the Atlanta Braves, the Boston Red Sox, the Minnesota Twins and the Tampa Bay Rays will meet in the other. Meanwhile, the Baltimore Orioles and the Pittsburgh Pirates will go up against sides from both groups. These teams will all play 28 games between 28 February and 29 March.

Full MLB spring training games schedule

When does the MLB season start?

The 2021 MLB regular season is scheduled to begin on Thursday 1 April, with every club set to play its opening game on the same day for the first time since 1968.

The New York Yankees are due to host the Toronto Blue Jays at 1:05 pm ET in the first game of the season, while the 2020 MLB champions, the Los Angeles Dodgers, are to begin their campaign with a visit to the Colorado Rockies at 4:10 pm ET.

The 2021 MLB regular season is slated to end on Sunday 3 October.

The pandemic led to a shortened, 60-game regular season in 2020, but MLB’s 2021 plan involves a return to the previous, 162-game format.

2021 MLB postseason: schedule TBC

The schedule for the 2021 MLB postseason has not yet been confirmed.

This is because MLB and the MLB Players’ Association have so far been unable to agree a deal on whether or not to maintain the expanded, 16-team playoffs introduced in 2020.

Before last season, a total of 10 teams qualified for the MLB playoffs.