Clayton Kershaw to start opening day for Dodgers vs Giants

LOS ANGELES — Clayton Kershaw will make his franchise-record ninth opening day start for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Manager Dave Roberts confirmed his choice Tuesday in a video conference call. The Dodgers open the 60-game season on July 23 at home against the rival San Francisco Giants. Kershaw was tabbed to start opening day against the Giants on March 26 before the season was delayed by the Coronavirus pandemic.

The 32-year-old left-hander tossed four innings in the Dodgers’ second intrasquad game Monday night. He struck out new teammate Mookie Betts on a called third strike by umpire Bob Geren, the team’s bench coach who was working the plate. Kershaw threw another inning in the bullpen.

Kershaw’s streak of opening day starts ended last year when he began the season on the injured list with left shoulder inflammation. He was replaced by Hyun-Jin Ryu, who signed with Toronto in December.

Kershaw is 5-1 with a 1.05 ERA on opening day.

The team’s rotation was upended when new Dodger David Price said he would sit out the season. He was expected to be the No. 3 starter behind Kershaw and Walker Buehler. Julio Urias and Alex Wood were expected to fill out the back end.

Ross Stripling, Dustin May and Tony Gonsolin are among the leading contenders to fill Price’s spot.

Ohtani back on Big A mound in Angels’ intrasquad game

ANAHEIM — Shohei Ohtani threw competitive pitches off the mound at Angel Stadium on Tuesday for the first time in two years.

Ohtani struggled with his control in the Los Angeles Angels’ intrasquad game, walking eight batters on about 50 pitches. The two-way star and manager Joe Maddon weren’t overly concerned about the results of another key day in Ohtani’s return from Tommy John surgery.

“I was able to throw all my pitches today, so I’m just going to try to build on that,” Ohtani said through a translator. “Obviously it felt a lot different from my bullpens, especially because I was unfamiliar with pitching to my teammates. That kind of threw me off a little bit.”

Ohtani hadn’t pitched at the Big A since June 9, 2018, when he left a game with what was initially called a blister. Ohtani was shut down as a pitcher for three months, and the AL Rookie of the Year only returned for one outing in September before it was determined he needed elbow surgery.

“I just saw a guy that didn’t have good rhythm in his delivery,” Maddon said. “He just wasn’t as sharp as he can be, obviously.”

Ohtani served solely as a designated hitter for the Angels last season, hitting .286 with 18 homers and 62 RBIs. He intends to resume his two-way career when the majors’ 60-game regular season begins later this month.

Alabama’s Sarkisian undergoes successful heart procedure

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Alabama offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian has undergone a procedure to correct a congenital cardiovascular anomaly.

The university said in a statement Tuesday that the anomaly was uncovered in an annual executive physical last week. Sarkisian had what the school described as a successful procedure Thursday, July 2 in Birmingham.

The former USC and Washington head coach is recuperating at home in Tuscaloosa and is expected to make a full recovery.

Sarkisian returned to Alabama last season after two years in the same role for the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons.

Two Royals players test positive

The Kansas City Royals say right-hander Brad Keller and first baseman Ryan O’Hearn have tested positive for the new Coronavirus. 

The 24-year-old Keller is in his third season with Kansas City after joining the organization as a Rule 5 selection in December 2017. 

“Of course I was devastated when I heard the news ... that I had two positive tests,” Keller said in a statement Tuesday. “I was sent home yesterday and was hoping the first test was a false positive, but I got the word today that the second test also came back positive and I have to go into isolation. I am experiencing minor symptoms that remind me more of an allergy attack. Other than that, I feel great and have no other symptoms,”

The 26-year-old O’Hearn said he was shocked his test was positive because he’s asymptomatic and feels fine physically. He’s also in quarantine. 

O’Hearn played in 105 games for the Royals last year, his second stint with the big league club, hitting 14 home runs.

Two Red Sox players test positive

Red Sox manager Ron Roenicke said Tuesday that starting pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez and prospect Bobby Dalbec have both tested positive for the new Coronavirus.

Rodriguez has yet to report to camp after previously informing the team that he had been around relatives who had been ill. Dalbec, a 25-year-old third baseman, is also at home and currently is asymptomatic. 

Roenicke said that he intended to have Rodriguez start on opening day. 

“Just unfortunate that we might not be able to still do it,” Roenicke said. “We’ll have to wait and see.”

Rodriguez posted a career-high 19 wins and 34 starts in 2019. He also had a career-low 3.81 ERA.

Giants suspend workouts

The San Francisco Giants say they are “suspending workouts at Oracle Park, pending the results of tests conducted this past weekend.” 

On Monday, the club announced two people had tested positive for the Coronavirus without providing further details on whether the two were players, coaches or staff. Prospect Hunter Bishop and pitcher Luis Madero, in the 60-player pool, already tested positive. 

This means no simulated games as planned for Tuesday, and Giants manager Gabe Kapler had said Monday he considered his club fortunate to not be dealing with any interruptions thus far.

Mahomes’ big bet on football pays off with $503 million deal

Patrick Mahomes risked everything when he opted for football over baseball.

Turns out, he got baseball money anyway.

One day after the former two-sport star got a 10-year deal worth up to $503 million, the richest contract in American sports history, the reigning Super Bowl MVP repeatedly insisted this deal was about more than money. 

He wants to be the cornerstone of a dynasty in Kansas City.

“That’s how I’ve always been built — to follow my passions and do things to the best of my ability,” the Chiefs quarterback said Tuesday on a Zoom call. “It’s never been about money for me. I’m glad we have this done and I can go out and be the same player that I was and the same person that I was.”

The Chiefs are banking on it.

They rewarded the 24-year-old Mahomes with $477 million in guarantee mechanisms, a no-trade clause and opt-out clauses if he doesn’t hit those guarantees — clauses more commonly associated with baseball contracts than football deals.

Durr to miss WNBA season after testing positive

New York Liberty guard Asia Durr will miss the upcoming WNBA season after testing positive for the new Coronavirus on June 8.

Durr detailed her struggles with COVID-19 in a post on Instagram. The former Louisville star says she hasn’t fully recovered.

The second pick of the 2019 WNBA draft averaged 6.7 points in her rookie season, starting 15 of her 18 appearances before being sidelined for the season with a hip injury.

NFL, NFLPA still haven’t resolved all protocol for camps

The NFL and the NFLPA haven’t come to an agreement on all protocols for training camp and the preseason as the report date for teams draws closer.

The two sides finalized the protocols regarding team travel, media, and treatment response, and have also updated the facilities protocol to specifically address training camp based on recommendations from a joint committee of doctors, trainers and strength coaches formed by the league and players’ union.

The league sent a 42-page memo to teams last Friday outlining those proposals. But the NFL Players Association and its president, Cleveland Browns center JC Tretter, say testing and the number of preseason games remain unresolved.

Test results late, Cubs delay workout 

The Chicago Cubs delayed the start of their workout a few hours on Tuesday because they were awaiting some new Coronavirus test results, manager David Ross said.

The move came one day after slugger Kris Bryant criticized the lack of frequency of the tests and delays in getting results.

Ross urged patience from everybody.

“This isn’t a huge deal,” Ross said. “It seems a little bit bigger with what’s been going on with some teams the last day or so. I think, again, in everybody’s world we have to have a little bit of patience. We can’t just crush MLB because this is new to them, too, and the testing facility.”

Indians keeping Reyes away from training camp

The Cleveland Indians are keeping outfielder Franmil Reyes away from training camp after they spotted him on social media attending a weekend holiday party without wearing a mask.

Manager Terry Francona said Reyes is not in any trouble with the team. But by not practicing social distancing or wearing a mask he exposed himself — and his teammates — to infection, and the team is being overly cautious.

Francona said Reyes, who was traded to Cleveland last season from San Diego, will have to be re-tested for the virus “when it’s appropriate.”

“He’s not in the penalty box,” Francona said. “It’s just the way we have to operate right now. So, hopefully we’ll see him soon.”

Francona said Reyes, who hit 37 homers combined for the Padres and Indians last season, apologized for not being more careful.

Chelsea into 3rd place in EPL, Arsenal held by Leicester

On a night of spectacular goals in the Premier League, it was a pair of tackles that had the most significant impact on the hard-fought race for Champions League qualification.

Chelsea’s 3-2 win at Crystal Palace was only secured thanks to a remarkable last-ditch challenge by center back Kurt Zouma, who somehow made up ground to divert the ball away as Christian Benteke was about to shoot late in stoppage time.

Then, hours later at a rain-soaked Emirates Stadium, Arsenal was leading 1-0 against Leicester and on course for a win that would have thrown open the fight for a finish in the top four when substitute striker Eddie Nketiah was handed a straight red card in the 75th minute for a studs-first lunge on James Justin.

Jamie Vardy equalized nine minutes later — with a goal that took a while to be confirmed by the video assistant referee — to seal a 1-1 draw, dealing a huge setback to Arsenal’s improbable hopes of climbing into the top five.

The two results left Chelsea in third place and a point clear of Leicester, which finally dropped to fourth after a poor run of results in the league since late January. Manchester United is four points back in fifth place, which will secure qualification for the Champions League if second-place Manchester City fails to overturn its two-year European ban.

Thunder create program to help Black Tulsa-area students

TULSA, Okla. — The Oklahoma City Thunder and Creative Arts Agency Sports have formed the Thunder Fellows Program, designed to create opportunities in sports, technology and entertainment for Black students in the Tulsa area.

The Thunder announced Tuesday that the program will launch next year.

The 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission will guide the program. It will include students from local colleges and those in grades 8-12 from Tulsa-area schools. 

ImpactTulsa, a partnership of representing more than 170,000 students in the Tulsa region, will help identify students to be part of the program. The program will be housed in the Historic Greenwood District of Tulsa, which was known as Black Wall Street before it was burned down in the massacre. 

Dream owner Loeffler objects to WNBA’s social justice plans

NEW YORK — Atlanta Dream co-owner Kelly Loeffler is not in favor of the WNBA’s social justice plans and has sent a letter to Commissioner Cathy Engelbert objecting to the league’s initiatives to honor the Black Lives Matter movement.

Loeffler, who is also a Republican U.S. senator running for re-election in Georgia, asked the league commissioner to scrap plans for players to wear warmup jerseys with “Black Lives Matter” and “Say Her Name” and instead put an American flag on all uniforms and apparel.

“The truth is, we need less - not more politics in sports. In a time when polarizing politics is as divisive as ever, sports has the power to be a unifying antidote,” wrote Loeffler. “And now more than ever, we should be united in our goal to remove politics from sports.”

In the letter, Loeffler, a Dream owner since 2011, said she wasn’t consulted about the league’s new social justice policy.

Engelbert issued a statement in response to Loeffler in a statement.

“The WNBA is based on the principle of equal and fair treatment of all people and we, along with the teams and players, will continue to use our platforms to vigorously advocate for social justice,” the commissioner said. “Sen. Kelly Loeffler has not served as a Governor of the Atlanta Dream since October 2019 and is no longer involved in the day-to-day business of the team.”

The WNBA players union put out a tweet Tuesday saying “E-N-O-U-G-H! O-U-T!” in response.

Lawyer to investigate abuse allegations by British gymnasts

LONDON — The British Gymnastics governing body has launched of an independent review into allegations of abuse in the sport.

Catherine Lyons, a 19-year-old former gymnast, told ITV News she was assaulted and bullied by a coach as a young girl. Lisa Mason, a gold medalist at the 1998 Commonwealth Games who competed at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, also reported abuse from a coach as a youngster.

Rockets sign free agent forward Luc Mbah a Moute

HOUSTON — The Houston Rockets have signed free agent forward Luc Mbah a Moute.

This will be the second stint with the Rockets for Mbah a Moute, who played 61 games for Houston in the 2017-18 season.

The 33-year-old is a 12-year NBA veteran who has also played for the Bucks, Kings, Timberwolves and 76ers. He hasn’t played in the league since he was released by the Clippers in April 2019.

Mbah a Moute has averaged 6.4 points and 4.1 rebounds in 686 games, including 453 starts. 

Wizards’ Beal, Nets’ Dinwiddie to miss rest of NBA season

WASHINGTON — Wizards leading scorer Bradley Beal and Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie won’t take part in the restart of the NBA season, two significant absences in the Eastern Conference playoff race.

Beal is out because of a right rotator cuff injury; Dinwiddie announced that he is still testing positive for Coronavirus and won’t participate.

Washington, Orlando and Brooklyn are the three teams left in the chase for the final two playoff spots in the East. If the Wizards finish within four games of whichever club finishes eighth, then two games will be played to determine the No. 8 seed.

AP source: Browns restructure DE Olivier Vernon’s contract

CLEVELAND — Olivier Vernon’s status with the Browns has more certainty. So does his paycheck.

The defensive end, whose future in Cleveland seemed in doubt for months, has renegotiated his contract for next season, a person familiar with the talks told the Associated Press on Tuesday.

Vernon’s days with the Browns seemed numbered as he was going to make $15.25 million — a non-guaranteed deal that was the largest current one-year contract on Cleveland’s roster — as long as he was around after training camp.

But the club reworked his deal and Vernon will earn $11 million, said the person who spoke on condition of anonymity because the team is not publicly disclosing the agreement.

ESPN was first to report Vernon will get a $7 million signing bonus, $3.75 million base salary, $250,000 workout bonus and $2 million in incentives.

European soccer clubs face $4.5B income drop over next year

GENEVA — European soccer clubs expect to lose 4 billion euros ($4.5 billion) in revenue over the next year because of the Coronavirus pandemic, according to a study released Tuesday by the European Club Association.

The ECA estimated clubs in 55 countries face a collective shortfall of 1.6 billion euros ($1.8 billion) this season and 2.4 billion euros ($2.7 billion) in the 2020-21 campaign. The analysis excluded possible transfer market profits.

“The results demonstrate that the financial impact of COVID-19 on European clubs … is already a seismic shock,” ECA chief executive Charlie Marshall said.

ECA chairman Andrea Agnelli, who is also the president of Italian club Juventus, has called the pandemic “a real existential threat” to the soccer industry.

FIFA has committed hundreds of millions of dollars from its financial reserves to make grants and interest-free loans to member federations, which can choose to invest in club soccer.

Lee scores late to help Valencia end winless streak in Spain

MADRID — Young South Korean midfielder Lee Kang-in scored in the 89th to help Valencia end a four-game winless streak with a 2-1 victory over Valladolid in the Spanish league on Tuesday.

Lee scored with a low left-foot shot from outside the area to keep Valencia in the fight for a Europa League spot. It is one point behind seventh-place Real Sociedad with three rounds to go. 

It was Valencia’s second win in eight matches since the league resumed. It also has three draws and four losses after the Coronavirus break, with its only victory against Osasuna at home last month. 

Juventus lets 2-goal lead slip in 4-2 loss at Milan

MILAN — Juventus missed the chance to take a big step toward a ninth successive Serie A title as it let a two-goal lead slip away in a surprising 4-2 loss at AC Milan on Tuesday.

After second-place Lazio lost 2-1 at relegation-threatened Lecce earlier, Juventus could have extended its lead at the top of the table to 10 points with a win.

A tight first half finished scoreless after Zlatan Ibrahimović had a goal ruled out for offside shortly before the break.

Women’s British Open continuing without spectators

The R&A is going ahead with the Women’s British Open at Royal Troon without spectators.

The Women’s British Open is set for Aug. 20-23 at Royal Troon along the Ayrshire coast of Scotland. It would be the first major on the LPGA Tour schedule that is played this year and it would be the week after the Ladies Scottish Open on the other side of the country just east of Edinburgh.

Qualifying for the AIG Women’s British Open has been canceled. The R&A says the field will be comprised of leading players from the women’s world ranking and recognizing top performances at recent events on the world’s leading tours.

BMX world championships canceled

The International Cycling Union says this year’s BMX world championships have been canceled because of the Coronavirus pandemic.

The event was scheduled to be held in Houston in May and was at first postponed.

The UCI says no new host was found “despite its best efforts to come up with an alternative.”

The next BMX worlds are scheduled to start in Papendal, Netherlands, in August 2021. That is one week after the Tokyo Olympics. Four BMX medal events are on the Olympic program.

Copenhagen pulls out of hosting 2021 gymnastics worlds

LAUSANNE, Switzerland — Denmark has pulled out of hosting the gymnastics world championships in 2021, the sport’s governing body said Tuesday.

The International Gymnastics Federation (FIG) “expressed its regret and disappointment” at the decision by the Danish federation to withdraw Copenhagen as host.

No specific reason was given by FIG in a brief statement which left unclear whether the event will be relocated.

The week-long championships were scheduled for October 2021 in what is now a crowded calendar year with the 2020 Tokyo Olympics postponed to July 23-Aug. 8.

AP source: Mets to host Yankees on 20th anniversary of 9/11

NEW YORK — The New York Mets will host the crosstown Yankees on the 20th anniversary of 9/11 next season, according to a person familiar with the decision.

The clubs will play at Citi Field in a game sure to be full of emotions for the city that’s also reported over 18,000 confirmed Coronavirus deaths this year. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because Major League Baseball has not yet released next season’s schedule.

IIHF encouraged by NHL’s potential return to Olympics in ‘22

International Ice Hockey Federation chief Rene’ Fasel is encouraged after learning the NHL’s pending labor deal opens the possibility of the world’s best players returning to the Olympics.

Aside from the uncertainty raised by the Coronavirus pandemic, Fasel told The Associated Press he doesn’t foresee any major stumbling blocks that could derail negotiations leading up to the 2022 Beijing Games.

Search still on week later for retired Valparaiso U. trainer

VALPARAISO, Ind. — Authorities are searching for a retired Valparaiso University athletic trainer who disappeared a week ago during a walk.

Rod Moore, 75, who has dementia, was wearing a baseball hat, a short-sleeve shirt and shorts, his family said on Facebook.

The family last had contact with him on June 30 when he said he was in a cornfield. The Porter County sheriff’s office said the search is ongoing.

Moore was Valparaiso’s head athletic trainer from 1967 to 2016 and a professor in the physical education department, the school said.

Denver Nuggets promote Calvin Booth to general manager

DENVER — The Denver Nuggets have promoted Calvin Booth to general manager.

Booth, 44, is in his third season with the Nuggets after being hired as assistant GM in 2017. He succeeds Arturas Karnisovas, who left Denver in April to become the Chicago Bulls’ top decision-maker.

Tim Connelly, the team’s president of basketball operations, called Booth “one of the brightest basketball minds in our league,” and added, “We are very fortunate to have him as part of our organization and are extremely excited for his new role.”

After a decade-long NBA playing career, Booth served as a scout for the New Orleans Pelicans in 2012-13, followed by a four-year stint in the Minnesota Timberwolves’ front office, first as a scout and then as director of player personnel.

Florida’s Mann returning for sophomore year, chance to start

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Florida guard Tre Mann is returning for his sophomore season.

Mann withdrew his name from the NBA draft Tuesday and plans to stay in school at least another year, a significant and somewhat expected development for fifth-year coach Mike White. 

Mann surprised the Gators by announcing in late April he planned to explore his professional options. He averaged 5.3 points off the bench as a freshman. But once starting point guard Andrew Nembhard opted to transfer — he eventually landed at Gonzaga last month — that opened the door for Mann’s return to Gainesville.

Mann should get a shot at playing the point, although Florida also has sophomore Ques Glover and former Cleveland State standout Tyree Appleby at the all-important position. Appleby averaged 17.2 points and 5.9 assists in 2018-19 and should seemingly be a better fit than Nembhard in White’s tweaked offense that looks to be faster paced.

Ex-coach Mike Shanahan elected to Broncos Ring of Honor

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Former head coach Mike Shanahan has been elected to the Denver Broncos Ring of Honor and will be inducted in 2021 because of COVID-19 precautions.

Shanahan, a two-time Super Bowl winner in Denver, becomes the 34th member of the ring of fame and the third head coach, joining Dan Reeves (2014) and Red Miller (2017).

In a statement, Broncos president and CEO Joe Ellis called Shanahan “the greatest coach in Denver Broncos history.”

Ellis said postponing Shanahan’s induction was “a difficult decision,” but added that Shanahan “deserves a full celebration in front of all our fans and distinguished alumni.”

Shanahan is the franchise’s all-time leader with 146 victories, including eight in the playoffs. He was head coach from 1995-2008 after serving as a Broncos assistant from 1984-87 and 1989-91.

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