Update on the latest sports

MLB-NEWS

Yanks closer Chapman has coronavirus; Astros cancel workout

HOUSTON (AP) — Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman has tested positive for the coronavirus and is experiencing mild symptoms. New York manager Aaron Boone announced the news Saturday. He said Chapman “overall is doing well” but “will not be here for the foreseeable future.” Hours after Chapman’s diagnosis, Yankees slugger Aaron Judge was scratched from a simulated game with a stiff neck. New York is also without infielder DJ LeMahieu and right-hander Luis Cessa due to the virus. The AL East champion Yankees open the season July 23 at Washington.

Chapman threw a bullpen session Tuesday and Boone wouldn’t comment on whether he had been at Yankee Stadium since. Boone said the team had gone through contact tracing protocols, and no other players or personnel would be forced to isolate because of Chapman’s positive test.

In Houston, the Astros canceled their workout after learning that a staff member could have been exposed to a person outside the organization with the coronavirus. It’s the second time this week the Astros have canceled a workout because of concerns about the pandemic. Houston also scrapped its Monday workout because of delays with testing results due to the holiday weekend, as did some other teams around the majors.

In other MLB news:

— Texas Rangers outfielder Joey Gallo says he doesn’t know if he actually had the coronavirus despite two positive tests, since he never had any symptoms and also had multiple negative tests. Gallo said Saturday that he planned to have a more extensive antibody test to be sure after a finger-prick test didn’t indicate that he had COVID-19. The All-Star slugger missed the first week of the Rangers summer camp after two positive tests that sandwiched a negative result during intake testing.

— Cleveland Indians outfielder Delino DeShields Jr. worked out with his teammates at training camp for the first time after being sidelined by the COVID-19 virus. DeShields had suffered some “mild symptoms” after testing positive with the virus before the Indians reported to Cleveland for the re-start of training camp last week. DeShields arrived a few days ago, but he was only cleared Saturday after twice testing negative. DeShields is one of 10 outfielders trying to win a spot on the club’s 30-man roster. He batted .249 and stole 24 bases in 118 games for the Rangers last season.

— Yoenis Céspedes is sure he’ll be ready to start the pandemic-delayed season with the New York Mets. Out of the lineup for almost two years, the 34-year-old slugger said Saturday he finally is close to fully recovered from a string of injuries to his feet and legs. The Mets open at home July 24 against Atlanta. And with the designated hitter available in the National League this year, Céspedes is a prime candidate for that role during a shortened schedule of 60 games. The two-time All-Star missed last season and most of 2018. He had surgery on both heels and then broke his right ankle in a nasty fall at his Florida ranch.

— Arizona Cardinals owner Michael Bidwill has tested positive for COVID-19. The team says after Bidwill developed symptoms, he tested positive and went to the hospital on the recommendation of his doctor. His condition has improved and he’s expected to be released this weekend. The team believes the 55-year-old Bidwill caught the virus while traveling and spending time on the East Coast for several weeks. He’s been working remotely since March and the team says he hasn’t had in-person contact coaches or players.

— Albert Pujols’ 20th season in the majors is about to begin with the Los Angeles Angels. When it does, the 40-year-old slugger is likely to be the oldest player in the big leagues. Although time has chipped away at Pujols’ mountainous talent, he has never believed his advancing age will prevent him from putting up other big numbers on the diamond. His recent years of diminishing overall production have been counterbalanced by still-steady power numbers. They’ve done nothing to hurt his confidence as he heads into this short season with big plans.

NBA-NEWS

LeBron won’t wear social justice message on Lakers jersey

UNDATED (AP) — LeBron James says his thoughts on social justice can’t be contained on the back of a basketball jersey. The Los Angeles Lakers superstar won’t wear one of the NBA-approved social justice messages on the back of his jersey when the NBA resumes competition later this month in the Orlando bubble. As part of the NBA’s recognition of the nationwide invigoration of the social justice movement sparked by the death of George Floyd, NBA players are allowed to choose from a lengthy list of possible messages for their jerseys during the league’s restart. James is among just a few who declined to choose one of the messages.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-SPORTS

PAC-12 shifts to conference-only

UNDATED (AP) — The Pac-12 has become the second major conference to shift to a conference-only fall schedule amid growing concerns over the coronavirus pandemic. The decision covers football, women’s and women’s soccer and women’s volleyball. Conference-only schedules will be announced no later than July 31. The announcement came a day after the Big Ten opted to eliminate nonconference games for all fall sports. The Atlantic Coast, Big 12 and Southeastern conferences are still weighing options for fall sports.

In other developments related to the COVID-19 pandemic:

— Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott has tested positive for COVID-19. The 55-year-old tested positive late this week after experiencing flu-like symptoms and is self-quarantining at the direction of his doctor, according to a statement by the conference. Scott is continuing to carry on his duties as commissioner remotely.

— San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich, the U.S. men’s basketball coach, says he is watching how Japan is handling the coronavirus. Popovich says he hopes the Tokyo Games, which were delayed until 2021, could still happen — especially if a vaccine or other remedies are developed beforehand. The NBA plans to start next season in December, which could complicate Olympic availability for players. It’s not clear if the playoffs would be finished before the Olympics would begin on July 23, 2021.

— Scott Dixon earned his third straight victory Saturday with an improbable triumph in the opening race of a weekend doubleheader at Road America, as IndyCar welcomed fans to its races for the first time this season. Dixon has won each of the three IndyCar races to take place thus far during this pandemic-delayed season. He’s the first IndyCar driver to start a season with at least three consecutive victories since Sebastien Bourdais reeled off four straight to start the 2006 campaign.

PGA-WORKDAY RESULTS

Thomas keeps clean card for 2-shot lead at Muirfield Village

DUBLIN, Ohio (AP) — Justin Thomas went from a three-shot deficit to a two-shot lead in the Workday Charity Open. Thomas had a third consecutive round without bogeys, this one a 66. He made birdies early to keep pace with Collin Morikawa. When Morikawa fell back, Thomas added three birdies to hold off Viktor Hovland. The Norwegian star also had a 66. The final round is a glimpse of golf’s next generation. All three will be in the final group because of an early start to avoid storms. The round needs to finish Sunday to have a day to get ready for the Memorial.

NHRA-RESUMES

NHRA resumes season, Johnson tops Funny Car qualifying

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Tommy Johnson Jr. topped Funny Car qualifying Saturday at the NHRA Nationals in the series’ return from a more than four-month break because of the coronavirus pandemic. Johnson, the winner in the last race before competition was suspended, had a 3.983-second run at 317.72 mph in a Dodge Charger in front of a limited number of fans at Lucas Oil Raceway.

Steve Torrence led in Top Fuel, Jason Line in Pro Stock and Eddie Krawiec in Pro Stock Motorcycle. Torrence had a 3.779 at 321.19, Line ran a 6.626 at 206.10 in a Chevrolet Camaro, and Krawiec had a 6.897 at 196.24 on a Harley-Davidson.

The NHRA resumed its season Saturday in front of an expected crowd of 3,000 to 4,000 at Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis. NHRA President Glen Cromwell said ticket sales were capped at about 10 to 15% of normal capacity. They also are expected to attend Sunday’s finals. Most fans wore face coverings on a hot, sun-drenched day, complying with county guidelines, and observed social distancing in the stands, pits and at concession areas.

The weekend ends a 138-day hiatus for America’s top drag racing series.

NHL-PLAYERS OUT

Stars’ Polak, Canucks’ Baertschi won’t report to NHL camps

UNDATED (AP) — Edmonton’s Mike Green and Vancouver’s Sven Baertschi are opting out. Dallas defenseman Roman Polak isn’t reporting for now. And Tampa Bay captain Steven Stamkos isn’t reporting at full strength.

Green and Baertschi joined Calgary defenseman Travis Hamonic in choosing not to participate in the resumption of the NHL season. Polak is not on the Stars’ roster for the start of training camp, and a team spokesman said the 34-year-old won’t be attending at this time.

Green, like Hamonic, decided not to play for family reasons. The Calgary Flames defenseman’s daughter was hospitalized last year with respiratory issues, and he and his wife also have a baby boy.

The Tampa Bay Lightning won’t have captain Steven Stamkos at 100% for the opening of camp because of a lower-body injury, but they’re optimistic he’ll be ready when games get under way in early August.

The Minnesota Wild, who face the Canucks in the qualifying round, have ruled out defenseman Greg Pateryn indefinitely with an upper-body injury.

NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said Saturday the league will be taking over injury and illness disclosure from teams as a way of protecting player privacy.

In other NHL news:

— The NHL and the players union are credited for putting aside past differences in taking a collaborative approach in ratifying a return-to-play plan that also includes the assurance of labor peace through September 2026. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman described the months-long negotiations as unprecedented in how the two sides addressed the wide variety of concerns and challenges raised after placing the season on pause in March because of the new coronavirus pandemic. NHL Players’ Association chief Don Fehr said the pandemic forced both sides to work in “common spirit” in order to salvage what’s left of the season.

—NHL Games are scheduled to begin Aug. 1 in Toronto and Edmonton, Alberta. Coronavirus cases in the U.S. are pushing the league into Canada for the summer and fall until the Stanley Cup is awarded in late September or early October.

HORSE RACING-ART COLLECTOR

Art Collector takes the Blue Grass at Keeneland

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — Art Collector took a big step toward the Kentucky Derby, pulling away from the filly Swiss Skydiver in the stretch in the Blue Grass at Keeneland for his first graded stakes victory.

The Kentucky-bred son of Bernardini and Distorted Legacy by Distorted Humor started the $600,000, Grade 2 event from the No. 3 post and battled Shivaree and Swiss Skydiver to the far turn. Rushie joined the chase at the final turn, but before Art Collector and Swiss Skydiver separated themselves from the 13-horse field. The two ran side by side before Art Collector took control at the 1/8th pole in the 3½-lengths win.

Art Collector improved to 3-0 this year and has four wins and a second in eight starts. The colt collected 100 points toward the 146th Derby on Sept. 5 at Churchill Downs.

PALACE IMPLOSION

Pistons’ onetime home, the Palace of Auburn Hills, torn down

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) — One of Michigan’s most beloved sports and entertainment venues was turned into rubble on Saturday with a series of controlled explosions.

The shell and roof of the Palace of Auburn Hills, which was home to three championship Detroit Pistons teams and three Detroit Shock teams and played host to some of the world’s biggest musical acts during its nearly 30-year run, crumbled to the ground following a series explosive pops. The rest of the arena had already been removed.

The Palace, which opened in 1988, held more than 22,000 people for NBA games and up to 23,000 for concerts and other shows, according to nba.com.

After the Pistons relocated in 2017 to downtown Detroit, the arena about 30 miles northwest of the city continued to host concerts and music events, the last in September 2017 by rocker Bob Seger.

It also became the second suburban Detroit arena that found little real use after its main sports tenant took its games back to the city. The Detroit Lions played at the nearby Pontiac Silverdome from 1975-2001 before moving to Ford Field in Detroit. The Pistons also called the Silverdome home for a decade before The Palace opened. The Silverdome was taken down with a partial implosion in 2017.

OBIT-JACK CHARLTON

England World Cup winner Jack Charlton dies at 85

UNDATED (AP) — England World Cup winner Jack Charlton has died.

Charlton was an uncompromising central defender who played alongside his brother, Bobby, in England’s World Cup-winning side in 1966 before enjoying coaching success with Ireland. Charlton was Footballer of the Year in England in 1967. He spent all his club career at Leeds from 1952-73, tying its all-time record of 773 appearances. He won every domestic honor, including the league title in 1969. His biggest achievement came with the England national team that beat Germany 4-2 after extra time in the 1966 World Cup final at Wembley Stadium.

Charlton died at home on Friday in his native Northumberland in northeast England. He was 85.

Premier League games will be preceded by a minute’s silence this weekend as a tribute to Charlton and players will wear black armbands.

TENNIS-SUSPICIOUS MATCHES

Tennis Integrity Unit eyes suspicious exhibition matches

LONDON (AP) — The Tennis Integrity Unit has raised concerns over 24 “suspicious matches” at exhibitions organized while the men’s and women’s tours are shut down amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The TIU, which investigates match-fixing cases in the sport, said Friday it received reports of the matches at private tournaments staged between April and June.

The reports are filed by gambling companies who track unusual betting patterns around matches. Suspicious betting patterns don’t necessarily mean a match was fixed. A similar effect can also happen if insider information about a player’s injury leaks.

Private tennis exhibitions have proliferated after the ATP and WTA tours closed down in March. Some have little or no oversight. Besides a smattering of events with big-name players, there are many smaller events around the world with low-ranked players.

Categories: National Sports

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