April 28 (UPI) -- Due to the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic, the Pittsburgh Pirates are suspending retirement benefits for members of the team's baseball operations staff.
Pirates general manager Ben Cherington said Tuesday the team has been searching for ways to find savings without impacting the everyday lives of employees. Cherington said the temporary suspension of the benefits is part of an effort to avoid any potential personnel cutbacks.
"A big focus of ours in recent weeks has been trying to figure out how to solve that problem in a way that minimizes impact on our people, peoples' families and our core activities," Cherington told reporters.
"We did identify the retirement contributions, at least temporarily, as an area where we might find some savings without too much impact on people and their everyday lives. The full expectation is that contributions will go back into effect as soon as possible."
The Pirates also suspended their fellowship and intern programs, while executive-level staff took voluntary salary reductions. The Pirates announced last week that they planned to pay all of their employees through at least the end of May.
Opening day for the 2020 MLB season had been scheduled for March 26 before the season was delayed indefinitely due to the COVID-19 outbreak. According to ESPN, the league is hopeful it will have a plan to start the season by the end of May.