Venezuela baseball league delays season's start

CARACAS, Venezuela -- Venezuela's winter baseball league is delaying the start of its season for the first time in decades after Major League Baseball banned its players from participating.

The Venezuelan League of Professional Baseball said in a statement Tuesday that it had agreed to postpone play for nearly three weeks to Nov. 5.

It didn't give a reason for the shortened season, but the announcement comes after the Trump administration prohibited Americans from doing business with President Nicolas Maduro's socialist government, which sponsors the league through state-run oil giant PDVSA.

The league's new president has vowed to try to reverse the ban. He argues that the privately run league is one of the few institutions that brings together Venezuelans of all political persuasions and shouldn't be punished by U.S. sanctions.

The Venezuelan Winter League is one of many that major league players use to hone their skills in the offseason.