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Spring training '21: New year, but COVID-19 protocols remain

Against the backdrop of a still raging coronavirus pandemic, pitchers and catchers are reporting to spring training this week.
Credit: AP
The Los Angeles Angels and the Seattle Mariners play during the fourth inning of a spring training baseball game Wednesday, March 4, 2020, in Tempe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York)

NEW YORK (AP) — Against the backdrop of a still raging coronavirus pandemic, pitchers and catchers are reporting to spring training this week, the first step in a 2021 season that will take many of the complexities from 2020's 60-game sprint and stretch them over an additional four months. 

Sure, there's the usual buzz over the players who changed teams. 

This season, though, promises to again be defined by the pandemic. 

Offers by MLB to delay opening day were rejected by the players' association last month, defaulting the league into an on-time start — and setting up a season that will look much like last year.