Spring training to be extended a week to accommodate World Baseball Classic

Spring training in 2009 will run Feb. 14 through the end of March, with games beginning around Feb. 25. The long-than-usual schedule is to allow players to participate in a drawn-out World Baseball Classic, slated to run March 5-March 23. Under a normal schedule, spring training — in terms of the players reporting — would begin Feb. 20. It is a complicated thing, to be sure: MLB players on the WBC rosters of China, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, as well as pitchers and catchers, will report on Feb. 14. All players will report by Feb. 17. No games will be added to the spring schedule, however; it does mean more open dates during March.