Update on the latest sports
Félix Hernandez opts out of 2020 season
ATLANTA (AP) — Former Cy Young winner Félix Hernández has opted out of the 2020 season, at least temporarily ending his bid to revive his career with the Atlanta Braves.
Braves manager Brian Snitker says the 34-year-old Hernández chose to skip the season due to the coronavirus pandemic.
A six-time All-Star in 15 seasons with Seattle, the player known as King Felix needed a fresh start following 2019, his worst season.
The decision was made after Hernández participated in workouts Friday and Saturday at Truist Park.
The Braves announced Saturday that four-time All-Star first baseman Freddie Freeman, reliever Will Smith and two more Atlanta players tested positive for COVID-19.
In other virus-related baseball developments:
— Washington Nationals manager Dave Martinez says two players out of 60 tested turned up positive for the novel coronavirus. Martinez says the two players took their tests Wednesday before reporting to Nationals Park and that some are still awaiting their results. Reliever Sean Doolittle minutes earlier lamented not having his COVID-19 test results back from Friday and implored baseball to “clean this up.”
— The Chicago White Sox say two players have tested positive for COVID-19 and are in isolation. The team said Sunday that the two unidentified players are asymptomatic, and contact tracing for both was conducted. They are being monitored by team medical staff and will receive follow-up testing in the coming days. They will be allowed to return to baseball activities after they test negative twice and pass other appropriate COVID-19 protocols.
— The Oakland Athletics’ first full-squad workout was pushed back from Sunday following the July 4 holiday given the club hadn’t received results from position player intake testing done Friday, according to general manager David Forst. Manager Bob Melvin is eager to get everybody on the field together at the Coliseum while understanding he must be flexible during this fluid time.
— Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Christian Yelich acknowledges he benefited from fortunate timing in his contract negotiations. The Brewers held a March 6 news conference to announce that the 2018 NL MVP had agreed to a nine-year, $215 million contract. Spring training was halted less than a week later because of the coronavirus pandemic. Yelich’s deal was finalized before the loss of revenue from Major League Baseball’s shortened season and labor unrest created at least some uncertainty about the game’s financial future. He says everybody is in a unique situation this season.
— Houston Astros shortstop Carlos Correa is so serious about not contracting the coronavirus that he’s asked wife Daniella, a former pageant queen, to stay out of beauty salons until the season is over. Correa’s wife was Miss Texas in 2016. The pair wed in the Dominican Republic in December. Correa spoke at length after Sunday’s workout about the importance of personal responsibility among the players if they hope to get through this 60-game season. It’s scheduled to begin July 23 or July 24.
Indians manager backs name change
CLEVELAND (AP) — Manager Terry Francona believes it’s time for the Cleveland Indians to change their nickname. Francona says the Indians should “move forward” and consider a new name.
The American League team has been called the Indians since 1915. On Friday, the team released a statement saying it was committed to determine a “best path forward with regard to our team name.” The move came hours after the NFL’s Washington Redskins announced plans to review their contentious logo and nickname.
Last year, the Indians removed the much-criticized Chief Wahoo logo from their game worn caps and jerseys.
In other news from baseball’s summer training:
— Left-hander Andrew Heaney is expected to make his first opening day start for the Los Angeles Angels. Manager Joe Maddon confirmed his selection before the Angels’ third workout of summer camp. Los Angeles is expected to open the season July 24. The 29-year-old Heaney will be the Angels’ fourth different opening day starter in four years. He went 4-6 last season with a 4.91 ERA and 118 strikeouts while missing time with injuries to his left elbow and shoulder.
Bottas wins F1′s season-opening Austrian GP, Hamilton 4th
SPIELBERG, Austria (AP) — Valtteri Bottas has won a chaotic season-opening Austrian Grand Prix which saw Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton finish fourth after getting a late time penalty.
Hamilton’s penalty saw him drop from second to fourth on Sunday. That meant Charles Leclerc took second place for Ferrari and Lando Norris was third.
The race was interrupted three times by a safety car and nine of 20 drivers abandoned. The Red Bulls of Max Verstappen and Alexander Albon both went out the race.
F1 DRIVERS AGAINST RACISM
F1 Drivers all wear “End Racism” T-shirts, but 6 don’t kneel
SPIELBERG, Austria (AP) — Valtteri Bottas kneeled holding the winners’ trophy at Formula One’s season-opening Austrian Grand Prix on Sunday and the podium trio held up a black T-shirt with “End Racism” written on it.
That message was delivered before the race when all drivers wore that T-shirt. World champion Lewis Hamilton, the only black driver in F1, had Black Lives Matter on the front and End Racism on the back.
But six drivers did not join Hamilton and 13 others in taking the knee. One of the six, Charles Leclerc, later tweeted that behavior in everyday life matters more than “formal gestures that could be seen as controversial in some countries.” He said his failure to take a knee doesn’t mean he’s “less committed than others in the fight against racism.”
Hamilton has spoken widely about racism in recent weeks following the death in Minneapolis of George Floyd in May.