(NEW YORK) -- Baseball fans rejoice: Your favorite teams will be taking the field in just under four weeks.
Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association announced Thursday that they have reached a new collective bargaining agreement. The deal was approved by the MLBPA and later ratified by team owners unanimously Thursday night, bringing an end to the three-month lockout.
The news comes after the league had announced a day earlier that it was scrapping a second week of games, pushing Opening Day until April 14, because both sides had failed to reach an agreement.
With the new CBA in place, the 2022 regular season will begin on April 7, with Spring Training games beginning next week.
“I am genuinely thrilled to be able to say that Major League Baseball is back and we're going to play 162 games,” MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said at a press conference Thursday.
“I do want to start by apologizing to our fans," he continued. "I know that the last few months have been difficult. There's a lot of uncertainty, at a point in time when there's a lot of uncertainty in the world. [It’s] sort of the way the process of collective bargaining works sometimes, but I do apologize for it."
“One of the good things about collective bargaining is that it gives our players an opportunity to have input on what their workplace and the game is going to look like going forward. And they took full opportunity to provide that input during these negotiations," Manfred added. "Our players are great, great athletes. I respect them. And I respect the input that we received from them during this process. And we really did learn a lot."
Under the new five-year CBA, the postseason will expand to 12 teams, minimum salaries will be increased, competitive balance tax thresholds will be raised and a universal designated hitter will be introduced, among other changes.