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MLB To Require Players, On-Field Staff To Wear Contact Tracing Wristbands For 2021 Season; Vaccination 'Will Be Voluntary'

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA/AP) — Major League Baseball players, on-field staff and non-playing personnel who require access to them at ballparks must wear electronic tracing wristbands from the start of spring training and face discipline for violations.

Players will be encouraged to get vaccines but are not required to get them.

That was part of upgraded health protocols agreed to by Major League Baseball and the players' association to deal with the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The 108-page operations manual, agreed to Monday night and obtained by The Associated Press, expands on the 101-page version used during the shortened 2020 season.

"Every covered Individual must wear a Kinexon contact tracing device at all times while in club facilities and during club directed travel and while engaged in team activities, including group workouts and practices," the manual says. "Repeated failure to wear the devices or repeated failure to return the devices to the Kinexon device docking station may be a basis for discipline," the manual says.

"Vaccination for COVID-19 will be voluntary for all players. However, MLB and the MLBPA will strongly encourage players to undergo vaccination at the appropriate time," the manual states.

It adds "the parties, in consultation with their respective medical experts, will consider in good faith relaxing these protocols on a league-wide, team-wide and/or individual basis" ... (to) the extent it is safe and appropriate to do so" when sufficient players are immunized.

Dodgers and Braves in game six of the World Series at Globe Life Field
ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 27: Justin Turner holds the trophy after the Dodgers defeated the Rays in Game 6 to win the World Series at Globe Life Field. (Photo by Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

The new rules were undoubtedly shaped in part by last season's World Series debacle when Los Angeles Dodgers third baseman Justin Turner tested positive for COVID-19.

The 35-year-old Long Beach native was pulled from Game 6 of the World Series in the top of the eighth inning following the positive test result.

(Copyright 2021 CBS Corp. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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