National League MLB Baseball
Ready to watch this guy again? Fernando Tatis Jr. and the Padres will return with baseball’s lockout near its end. Photo credit: @Padres, via Twitter

The Padres are coming! The Padres are coming!

Major League Baseball and its players association tentatively agreed on a new labor deal, according to an MLB story shared on Padres.com. With the agreement, the season could begin as soon as April 7.

The report noted that the collective bargaining agreement needs to be ratified by owners with a vote expected to take place Thursday evening. Various media reports though indicate that they unanimously agreed to the deal, and the lockout, The Athletic noted, formally ended at 4 p.m. PST. 

Another piece of good news – fans won’t miss any games. The agreement calls for the full 162-game schedule to be played, with the four series that had been cancelled to be rescheduled.

Players must report for Spring Training by Sunday with exhibition games to begin late next week. The Padres already in fact, have their spring schedule updated, with evening split-squad games set to take place against the Cincinnati Reds and the San Francisco Giants.

In addition, there will be an expanded 12-team postseason, with two more teams set to make the playoffs

The new five-year pact is expected to include the expansion of the designated hitter to the National League, an increase in the minimum salary to $700,000 with annual boosts to follow, and a higher threshold for the penalties that promote competitive balance among teams.

MLB opted to lock out its players in December and cancelled the first two weeks of the season as the labor talks dragged on. Opening Day had been set for March 31.

Updated 4:20 p.m. March 10, 2022