20 of 30 MLB teams reach 85% vaccinations, relax protocols

Baseball

NEW YORK (AP) — Two-thirds of Major League Baseball’s 30 teams have been able to relax coronavirus protocols after four additional clubs qualified and raised the total to 20 franchises reaching 85% vaccinations for players and other on-field personnel.

The commissioner’s office and the players’ association said Friday that two additional teams had reached the 85% level of having received final doses and will be able to relax protocols within the next two weeks once they are fully vaccinated.

Relaxed protocols include dropping the requirements for facemasks in dugouts and bullpens, and loosening restrictions on mobility during road trips.

MLB said 85.2% of Tier 1 individuals such as players, managers, coaches, trainers and support personnel had been partially or fully vaccinated, up just 0.7% from the previous week, and 82.9% had been fully vaccinated, up 1.7% from the previous week.

There were two positive tests — one for a major league player and one for a Triple-A player — among 9,291 tests in the past week, a 0.02% positive rate.

So far this season, there have been 64 positive tests — 36 players, 28 staff — among 185,551 samples tested, a 0.03% positive rate. The positive tests are among 25 teams.

The Chicago Cubs said Friday they will move to 100% capacity at Wrigley Field starting with a June 11 game against St. Louis.

Only Texas among the 30 major league teams began this season at 100% after fans weren’t permitted last year because of the coronavirus pandemic. Atlanta went to full capacity on May 7.

Others announcing the move to full capacity in-season have been Atlanta (May 7), Arizona (May 25), Boston (May 29), Baltimore (June 1), Cincinnati (June 2). Washington (June 11), Philadelphia (June 12), St. Louis (June 14), Milwaukee (June 25) and Minnesota (July 5).

MLB announced a “Vaccinate At The Plate” program in which each of the 30 teams will stage at least one event in June offering a free ticket to anyone getting vaccinated at the ballpark. The commissioner’s officer said more than 1 million shots had been given at ballparks during the pandemic and that MLB and teams had provided more than 1.5 million PCR tests to schools, youth academies, charities and communities.

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