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International players could face issues when MLB season begins

Citizens Bank Park has been home of the Phillies since 2004. (Tim Kelly/PhilliesNation)

In an article for the Los Angeles Times, writer Jorge Castillo mentioned a problem when Major League Baseball resumes operations — International players who have returned home may have trouble returning to the United States.

Potential travel bans that may arise during this pandemic could lead to these issues because many of the countries where international players come from, specifically ones in Latin America, are at different stages of the pandemic than the United States.

Castillo mentions that one possibility to ensure that travel bans won’t impact these players is creating contingency plans with foreign embassies in order to screen players and send them back to the United States.

It is unclear exactly which Phillies went home. In an article last week, The Athletic’s Meghan Montemurro mentioned that while most of the Phillies Venezuelan players stayed in the United States, players from New Zealand, Australia and Russia went home.

This is only one of several issues that MLB will have to deal with during this pandemic. Castillo mentions the issues of service time, pay and roster size as more pressing problems for the league and union to deal with right now while the league’s operations remain suspended.

Since MLB suspended operations on March 12, the hopeful return date has continued to be pushed back. The latest update is that the league may not start until as late as July, which would almost definitely feature the first shortened season since the 1994-1995 strike.


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