Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred reportedly informed teams this week of a plan that will allow clubs to furlough employees or reduce their pay because of the league's coronavirus shutdown. But he also told league employees that he expects baseball to return in 2020. "I fully anticipate baseball will return this season," Manfred said in an email, according to ESPN's Jeff Passan.

Here's more from Passan:

The move to suspend the contracts, first reported by The Athletic, was long anticipated, and it allows teams to stop paying employees covered by them. In the email, Manfred pointed to the lack of revenue from tickets, concessions, broadcasting, licensing and sponsorships and said: "In the absence of games, these revenue streams will be lost or substantially reduced, and Clubs will not have sufficient funds to meet their financial obligations."

Teams will be able to furlough staffers on May 1. But, according to Passan, 18 of the 30 MLB clubs have pledged to pay employees through at least the end of May.

MLB suspended operations on March 12, two weeks before its originally scheduled Opening Day. The league has since been in communication with the players union about how, when and where the league could possibly start the 2020 season.

CBS Sports reported on one of the league's ideas for baseball's return on Monday night. That plan includes having teams stationed in one of three hubs: Florida, Arizona or Texas. The clubs would then make use of the local major- and minor-league (or spring training) facilities. The league has also reportedly discussed two other plans, involving all teams in Arizona and teams split between Arizona and Florida.

In Manfred's email to MLB team employees, he wrote "it is very difficult to predict with any accuracy the timeline for resumption of our season," according to Passan.

The league also may reportedly ask players to take additional pay cut if games are played without fans, but MLBPA chief Tony Clark shot down that idea.