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They used to make MLB uniforms. Now they're making medical masks and gowns

By: Alisha Ebrahimji, CNN

CNN's Devan Cole contributed to this report

Major League Baseball is teaming up with a sports apparel retailer to help with a national shortage of personal protective equipment for health care workers.

MLB and Fanatics are shifting production from jerseys to masks and gowns for those on the front lines of the fight against coronavirus.

The shortage is causing health care workers to resort to desperate measures and save supplies intended for a single usage.

Jersey fabric will be used to make masks and hospital gowns in Fanatics' manufacturing plant in Easton, Pennsylvania. MLB and Fanatics will pay for associated costs.

An example of a hospital gown and mask made from baseball jersey fabric.

The first batches were made out of uniforms from the Philadelphia Phillies and New York Yankees. The MLB said as production and distribution grows, they'll use other teams' jersey fabric.

Michael Rubin, founder of Fanatics and co-owner of the Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Devils, told CNN's Jake Tapper on "The Lead" the goal is to make 1 million masks in coming weeks.

From there, the masks and gowns will be distributed to hospitals and emergency personnel in Pennsylvania.

They could then expand to New York and New Jersey, as well, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred told Tapper.

"We're certainly really excited for baseball and Fanatics to come together and take this incredible factory and manufacture op to a million masks over the next couple of months," Rubin said. "We can make a huge difference."

MLB announced this month that it was pushing back the opening of the 2020 season indefinitely amid the coronavirus crisis. Thursday was supposed to be Opening Day, the official start of the MLB season.

Our trusted partner Acclaim Federal Credit Union is helping to fund the cause.

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