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New MLB rules: shower at home, don't spit, Dinger stay away

Spitting is prohibited along with water jugs and the use of saunas, steam rooms, pools and cryotherapy chambers.
Credit: AP Photo/David Zalubowski
Colorado Rockies mascot Dinger the dinosaur, right, greets starting pitcher Kyle Freeland as he heads over for the team photograph before a baseball game against the Cincinnati Reds Saturday, July 13, 2019, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

NEW YORK — Major League Baseball will look somewhat like high school ball this year under protocols to deal with the new coronavirus, with showers at ballparks discouraged and players possibly arriving in uniform, like they did when they were teenagers.

Team personnel will be banned from eating at restaurants on road trips.

Even the Phillie Phantic, Mr. Met and Dinger will be missing, banned from the field along with all other team mascots.

The traditional exchange of lineup cards would be eliminated, along with high-fives, fist bumps, and bat boys and girls, according to a 67-page draft of Major League Baseball's proposed 2020 Operations Manual. A copy was sent to teams Friday and obtained by The Associated Press. The guidelines, first reported by The Athletic, are subject to negotiation with the players' association.

Teams will be allowed to have 50 players each under the plan, with the number active for each game still be negotiated.

Spitting is prohibited along with water jugs and the use of saunas, steam rooms, pools and cryotherapy chambers. Hitting in indoor cages is discouraged, batting gloves encouraged.

Batting practice pitchers are to wear masks, dugout telephones disinfected after each use. Players may not touch their face to give signs, and they're not allowed to lick their fingers. Teams are encouraged to hold meetings outdoors, players spread apart.

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