At least one notable player is skeptical about Major League Baseball's reported restart plans

Nationals relief pitcher Sean Doolittle wants to know more about "health protections for players, families, staff, stadium workers and the workforce."
Empty Fenway Park During Pandemic
A closed Fenway Park in Boston on April 16, 2020.Stan Grossfeld / Boston Globe via Getty Images file

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By David K. Li

Outspoken Washington Nationals relief pitcher Sean Doolittle on Tuesday urged league officials to focus on health risks over economic concerns as they weigh a potential restart of play.

Major League Baseball and its players union were meeting on Tuesday, according to The Associated Press, with the league pitching plans for a truncated, coronavirus-shortened 2020 season.

Doolittle said he was skeptical of a restart, targeting for early July, until there's a vaccine.

"It feels like the conversation about an MLB restart has shifted to the economic issues and that's really frustrating," he tweeted on Tuesday. "Until there's a vaccine, let's focus on keeping everyone as safe as possible & minimizing the risks so we can play baseball again."

MLB hopes to play 82 games this season with teams limited to regional play, the AP reported Monday.

Shortly after that report surfaced, Doolittle wrote a long series of tweets, explaining that he's critical of any MLB plans that don't include care for nearby employees.

"Bear with me, but it feels like we've zoomed past the most important aspect of any MLB restart plan: health protections for players, families, staff, stadium workers and the workforce it would require to resume a season," Doolittle wrote Monday.

Doolittle, 33, has never been shy about taking up nonbaseball issues, such as civil rights, LBGTQ acceptance, his love of reading and all that is "Star Wars."

The left-hander said he's eager to get back to diamond, as long as everyone is safe.

"Some people telling me to stay home if I don't want to play," he tweeted. "We're asking these questions BECAUSE we want to play. We want to restart the season again. We also want everyone it would require to resume a baseball season to be as safe as possible."

This 2020 season was supposed to start on March 26. Teams were in spring training when MLB suspended all play on March 12.

The coronavirus pandemic has shut down virtually all sports around the world.

There are two other pro baseball leagues in action now, both on the other side of the globe: Taiwan's Chinese Professional Baseball League and South Korea's Korea Baseball Organization.

The CPBL opened to empty stadiums a month ago before national officials allowed 1,000 fans per venue back inside this past weekend. The KBO opened play last week, in empty stadiums.

Suzanne Ciechalski contributed.