If Major League Baseball is going to begin a 2020 season in early July, as it hopes, the clock is quickly running down to come to an agreement with the MLB Players Association.

But count Twins president Dave St. Peter among those who are optimistic that MLB and the MLBPA will be able to strike a deal on salaries, player safety and other issues in the coming weeks.

MLB has been hoping to start a spring training 2.0 beginning around June 10 and to do so would require an agreement fairly quickly. Spring training was halted in mid-March due to the spread of COVID-19 and the sport has been on an indefinite pause since then.

But while the two sides appear to be far apart, especially economically, St. Peter said Wednesday he remains optimistic that there is a path for the sport’s return in 2020.

“I continue to believe that the leaders of our sport, Commissioner (Rob) Manfred, our owners and our players all want to play, and at the end of the day, I think that desire to play and the opportunity in front of us for baseball to return ultimately will win the day and that gives me optimism that baseball will eventually return here,” St. Peter said.

Salaries for 2020 remain at the heart of the negotiations. In late March, the players agreed to a $170 million sum to be divvied up as well as prorated salaries should the season be played. The league contends that was agreed upon under the assumption that fans would be in the stands and revenue would be coming in from that. Now, it has become increasingly clear that if MLB does start back up again in July, fans will not be attendance.

MLB’s latest proposal reportedly calls for additional pay cuts, with the highest earners losing the highest percentage of their salaries and less drastic pay cuts for players with lower salaries.

But any reduction of salaries beyond the prorated deal appears to be a non-starter with the union.

“After discussing the latest developments with the rest of the players there’s no reason to engage with MLB in any further compensation reductions,” Nationals ace and MLBPA executive subcommittee member Max Scherzer tweeted Wednesday. “We have previously negotiated a pay cut in the version of prorated salaries, and there’s no justification to accept a 2nd pay cut based on the current information that the union has received.”

While comments like Scherzer’s make it appear as if the two sides remain far apart, the players union is reportedly planning on sending a counterproposal to MLB that, according to The Athletic, will propose a schedule longer than 82 games. The players are expected to stand firm on receiving their prorated salaries.

Player safety is another big issue, with MLB’s proposal reportedly calling for players to be tested multiple times a week as well as other safety measures, including temperature checks, frequently removing baseballs that are put in play and touched by multiple players and having players wear masks while not playing.

Players will be expected to not hug or high-five in celebration and one suggestion was to discourage showering at club facilities, which drew a raised eyebrow from Twins designated hitter Nelson Cruz.

“It’s going to be difficult, but I think we’ll all be able to deal with it,” Cruz said on a conference call last week. “I think the main thing is just don’t say ‘Hi’ to your teammates when they do something good. Or imagine, ‘Don’t shower if you’ve got to travel,’ OK. We’ve got to go from Chicago to Kansas City, and you cannot shower until you get to the hotel. You know, how is that going to look? Going into all of the details, it’s going to be crazy. But at the same time, like I say, we will have to adjust.”

That is, if they can get a deal done.

“I think that we’d all like to get a resolution sooner versus later but there’s a process that we have to go through, first and foremost to ensure that we have consensus around the health and safety matter but then also some of the broader parts of the negotiation with the Players Association,” St. Peter said. “Those discussions can be complicated and they take some time, so we recognize that, but we have a window here by which I think we can get some things done and I think we remain hopeful that that can happen.”