NEW YORK — Minor leaguers ratified their first collective bargaining agreement with Major League Baseball ahead of the season’s start Friday.

The five-year deal was agreed to Wednesday. MLB owners are expected to vote on the agreement next week.

The Major League Baseball Players Association, which in September began representing players with minor league contracts, said Friday that more than 99% of minor leaguers who cast ballots approved the deal. About 5,500 players are in the bargaining unit.

“It’s a historic day for these players,” union head Tony Clark said in a statement.

Minimum salaries will rise from $4,800 to $19,800 at rookie ball, $11,000 to $26,200 at Low Class A, $11,000 to $27,300 at High Class A, $13,800 to $27,300 at Double-A, and $17,500 to $35,800 at Triple-A. Players will be paid in the offseason for the first time.

Minor league players will receive four weeks of retroactive spring training pay for this year. They will get $625 weekly for spring training and offseason training camp and $250 weekly for offseason workouts at home.


Most players will be guaranteed housing, and players at Double-A and Triple-A will be given a single room. Players at Low A and High A will have the option of exchanging club housing for a stipend. The domestic violence and drug policies will be covered by the union agreement. Players who sign for the first time at 19 or older can become minor league free agents after six seasons instead of seven.

MLB agreed not to reduce minor league affiliates from the current 120. Beginning in 2024, teams can have a maximum of 165 players under contract during the season and 175 during the offseason, down from the current 190 and 180.

Players will gain rights to second medical opinions, a 401k plan and arbitration to contest discipline under a just cause standard.

The union will take over group licensing rights for players.

RED SOX: Garrett Whitlock allowed one run on six hits in a four-inning rehab start for the Worcester Red Sox against the Syracuse Mets.

Whitlock threw 75 pitches, including 50 for strikes. He struck out six and walked a batter.


Whitlock, who is recovering from offseason hip surgery, is expected to make one more rehab start before joining Boston’s rotation.

ANGELS: The ball was headed toward deep right field, so outfielder Hunter Renfroe took a step that way.

But then the wind shifted and carried Jace Peterson’s drive toward right-center instead, leaving Renfroe scrambling.

He stuck out his glove and – somehow – corralled the ball. A no-look grab, if there is such a thing.

“There’s no normal catch about it. You catch it behind your head and backwards. That’s not great, but you’ve gotta do what you’ve gotta do sometimes,” he said. “It was a lot of different directions. It looks like I’m out there in a circus, but caught it.”

Running backward toward the wall, he got twisted around and blindly reached his glove up to make the catch just in front of the warning track – without even tracking the ball with his eyes at the end.


Renfroe actually regularly works on making trick catches during batting practice.

“Now I’m going to use it,” he joked.

His amazing, no-look grab was one for the highlight reels on Opening Day.

Playing his first game with the Angels, Renfroe could only grin ear to ear after robbing Peterson to start the bottom of the fifth inning in the Angels’ 2-1 loss to the Oakland Athletics on Thursday night.

“I’m glad I caught it. Not the way you want to draw it up,” Renfroe said.

INTERNATIONAL: The percentage of Major League Baseball players born outside the 50 states remained relatively stable for the fourth straight Opening Day.


MLB said 269 of 945 players on opening day 26-man rosters and injured, inactive and restricted lists were born outside the 50 states, which calculates to 28.5%. That was up from 28.2% for expanded 28-man rosters and the other lists following last year’s lockout, 28.3% in 202, and 28.4% in 2020, when the active limit expanded from 25 to 30 during the pandemic.

The Dominican Republic led with 104 players, its second-most behind 110 in 2020. Venezuela was second with 62, followed by Cuba (21). Puerto Rico (19), Mexico (15), Canada (10), Japan (eight), Colombia (seven), Curaçao, Panama and South Korea (four each); Bahamas and Nicaragua (two apiece), and Aruba, Australia, Brazil, Germany, Honduras and Taiwan (one each).

Mexico’s total was its highest since 18 in 2005.

There were 19 nations and territories represented, down from a record-tying 21 last year.

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