Baseball’s minor leagues cancel 2020 seasons
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Baseball’s minor leagues canceled their seasons on Tuesday after Major League Baseball decided not to provide any players to its affiliated teams amid the Coronavirus pandemic.
The National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues, the minor league governing body, made the long-expected announcement. The Professional Baseball Agreement between the majors and the minors expires after this season, and MLB has proposed reducing the minimum affiliates from 160 to 120.
MLB already had told clubs to retain expanded 60-player pools, of which 30 players can be active during the first two weeks of the season starting in late July.
“These are unprecedented times for our country and our organization as this is the first time in our history that we’ve had a summer without minor league baseball played,” National Association president Pat O’Conner. “While this is a sad day for many, this announcement removes the uncertainty surrounding the 2020 season and allows our teams to begin planning for an exciting 2021 season of affordable family entertainment.”
Veteran Brazilian midfielder Juninho retires from L.A. Galaxy
CARSON — Veteran Brazilian midfielder Juninho has retired with the LA Galaxy.
The Galaxy announced the three-time MLS Cup winner’s decision Tuesday.
The 31-year-old Juninho spent the most memorable days of his professional career with the Galaxy, making 189 appearances and scoring 18 goals. The Galaxy won the Supporters’ Shield in 2010 and 2011 and the MLS Cup title in 2011, 2012 and 2014 with Juninho playing a midfield role.
Juninho left the Galaxy in 2016 for Club Tijuana and the Chicago Fire before returning to the Galaxy last season. The Galaxy declined its 2020 contract option on Juninho in late 2019.
Juninho had 19 goals and 25 assists in 210 career MLS appearances.
Royals pull into 3-3 draw with Dash on late King goal
HERRIMAN, Utah — Rookie Tziarra King came off the bench and scored her first National Women’s Soccer League goal Tuesday to pull the Utah Royals into a 3-3 draw with the Houston Dash in the Challenge Cup tournament.
Rachel Daly scored a pair of goals as the Dash built a 3-1 lead but the Royals came back with late goals from Vero Boquete and King in the match played without fans at Zions Bank Stadium.
The NWSL is the first professional team sports league in the United States to play amid the Coronavirus pandemic. The league was shut down on March 12 before the regular season had started.
Diana Matheson took a feed from Amy Rodriguez and slotted it for a goal in the 35th minute to give the Royals the early lead. Matheson missed last season with a foot injury that also kept her off Canada’s squad for the World Cup.
Daly tied it at 1-all in first-half stoppage time. Her second goal was a header off a corner kick in the 47th minute. She appeared to get the hat trick in the 61st minute but the official said it was not a goal.
Rockies OF Desmond decides to sit out this season
Colorado Rockies outfielder Ian Desmond plans to sit out this season to be with his family and help grow youth baseball in his hometown in Florida.
The 34-year-old Desmond wrote Monday night on Instagram that the “COVID-19 pandemic has made this baseball season one that is a risk I am not comfortable taking.” But the biracial slugger also mentioned a myriad of issues within baseball, including racism, sexism, homophobia and socioeconomic concerns.
“With a pregnant wife and four young children who have lots of questions about what’s going on in the world, home is where I need to be right now,” Desmond wrote on Instagram. “Home for my wife, Chelsey. Home to help. Home to guide. Home to answer my older three boys’ questions about Coronavirus and Civil Rights and life. Home to be their Dad.”
Desmond, who hit .255 with 20 homers in 140 games last season, had been due $5,555,556 for the prorated share of his $15 million salary, part of a $70 million, five-year contract. He is owed $8 million next year, and his deal includes a $15 million team option for 2022 with a $2 million buyout.
In searching for Desmond’s replacement, the Rockies were working on a minor league deal with veteran Matt Kemp on Tuesday.
A’s send Mateo to Padres in 1st trade since baseball resumed
SAN DIEGO — The San Diego Padres have acquired middle infielder Jorge Mateo from the Oakland Athletics in the first trade since baseball resumed after a shutdown of more than three months due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
The Padres will send either a player or cash to the A’s for the 25-year-old Mateo, who will be added to the player pool for the resumption of spring training. The Padres are scheduled to have their first workout Friday at Petco Park.
The trade was announced Tuesday.
Mateo is a former top prospect with the New York Yankees, who signed him as a non-drafted free agent at 17 out of the Dominican Republic. He is a .267 hitter in eight minor league seasons.
He was sent to Oakland in the Sonny Gray trade in 2017. He was with Triple-A Las Vegas in 2019, hitting, .289 with a .834 OPS and a minor league-leading 14 triples in 119 games.
Dinwiddie, Jordan have Coronavirus, may not return with Nets
NEW YORK — Spencer Dinwiddie and DeAndre Jordan said Monday they have tested positive for the Coronavirus, potentially leaving the Brooklyn Nets without two starters when the NBA season resumes.
Jordan said he won’t be in Florida with the Nets when they return from the suspension of the 2019-20 season, while Dinwiddie told The Athletic that he was experiencing symptoms and it was unclear if he would be at Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports complex.
At least six players on the Nets have tested positive for the virus. The other four were back in March, when Kevin Durant said he was one of them.
Both players said they tested positive after returning to New York to rejoin the team. Some players left the city, which was a hot spot at the time, after the NBA halted play.
Another PGA Tour player tests positive for virus
Chad Campbell is the sixth player to test positive for the Coronavirus as the PGA Tour enters its fourth week of the restart.
Campbell played the first event back at Colonial near his home in Texas. He didn’t play the last two weeks and then tested positive as part of the tour’s pre-tournament screening process at the Rocket Mortgage Classic in Detroit.
Campbell said he is asymptomatic and will quarantine until he feels it’s safe to return. The tour policy requires self-isolation for at least 10 days. Earlier this week, Harris English tested positive and withdrew from the Rocket Mortgage Classic.
Meanwhile, three players on the Korn Ferry Tour in Colorado have tested positive: Brandon Wu, Taylor Montgomery and Jonathan Hodge. They are the first Korn Ferry Tour players to test positive at a tournament site.
With restrictions, fans set to return to SKorean baseball
SEOUL, South Korea — South Korea’s professional baseball league says it will require fans to wear masks and to sit at least a seat apart as it prepares to bring back spectators in the coming weeks amid the Coronavirus pandemic.
The Korea Baseball Organization on Tuesday said fans will also not be allowed to eat food in the stands. Teams will be initially allowed to sell only 30% of the seats for each game, a figure that could be expanded to as much as 50% depending on the progress in the country’s anti-virus efforts, according to the league’s plans.
Fans will also be screened for fevers and discouraged from excessive shouting, singing and cheering during the game to prevent contact or dispersion of droplets, the KBO said. And perhaps as a means of discouraging any boisterous behavior, beer will also be banned and fans will only be allowed to drink water or non-alcoholic beverages.
Positive tests force Nuggets to close practice facilities
DENVER — The Denver Nuggets say they’ve closed their facilities after two members of the team’s traveling party tested positive for the Coronavirus over the weekend. A third tested positive this week.
All three are asymptomatic, the Nuggets said Tuesday in confirming a report by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
The 35-member traveling party includes players, coaches and staff.
It’s unclear if the Nuggets will reopen their practice facilities before the team flies to Orlando on July 7 to resume the season that was halted in mid-March because of the virus, which has has killed more than 128,000 people in the United States.
The 22 teams that will restart the season July 30 returned to their practice facilities last week and players, coaches and staff have been subject to ongoing testing as they prepare to resume the season.
Three New Orleans Pelicans players test positive
Pelicans general manager David Griffin says three New Orleans players have tested positive for COVID-19 and will be in self-isolation until testing shows they can return to team activities without infecting others.
Griffin declined to identify the players, citing medical privacy laws.
The positive tests occurred on June 23, the first day all members of the team were tested as part of the NBA’s plan to restart the season, which was suspended in mid-March. Griffin says the Pelicans have had no players test positive since.
Canadian Women’s Open canceled
The LPGA Tour lost another tournament when the Canadian Women’s Open was canceled because of travel restrictions and quarantine requirements from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The CP Women’s Open was scheduled for Sept. 3-6 at Shaughnessy Golf and Country Club in Vancouver. The LPGA Tour and Golf Canada say it will return to Shaughnessy the last week in August next year.
NFL awards 4 projects in helmet safety development program
Four organizations have been awarded a total of $1.37 million by the NFL to support the creation of their helmet prototypes.
As part of the NFL Helmet Challenge, a contest with an additional prize of $1 million, receiving grants will be Impressio Inc. and CU Denver; Xenith Project Orbit; Kollide; and the University of Virginia.
Sponsored by the league and Football Research Inc., the Helmet Challenge aims to stimulate the development by experts, innovators and helmet manufacturers of a new helmet that based on laboratory testing outperforms all helmets currently worn by NFL players.
The challenge ends in July 2021 with applicants submitting helmet prototypes for testing sponsored by the NFL-NFLPA that ranks helmets for performance and safety.
Fernandes nets twice in Man United’s 3-0 victory at Brighton
BRIGHTON, England — Bruno Fernandes scored twice to lead Manchester United to a 3-0 victory over Brighton on Tuesday to maintain its push for Champions League qualification.
The 25-year-old January signing has now scored in two of the three Premier League games since the season resumed after the three-month pandemic-enforced suspension.
United took the lead in the 16th minute when Mason Greenwood broke inside from the right and outfoxed his marker before firing in his sixth goal of the league campaign.
Fernandes then curled a free kick over the bar before turning home the second goal from the edge of the box in the 29th minute after being teed up by Paul Pogba. Brighton players argued that the ball had gone out of play earlier in the move but the goal was allowed.
Golf tournament to help fund police training initiative
HARTFORD, Conn. — The Travelers Championship is giving some of the money raised by last week’s golf tournament in Connecticut to help create a program to train police in how to deal with teens and young adults, especially in Black and racially diverse communities.
The tournament and the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving announced Tuesday they are teaming to provide $300,000 over two years to the University of New Haven’s Center for Advanced Policing and the Tow Youth Justice Institute.
Hundreds of fans allowed at Berlin tennis exhibitions
BERLIN — Up to 800 spectators per day will be allowed at a tennis exhibition in Berlin in mid-July, even after four players tested positive for the Coronavirus after playing in a similar event fronted by Novak Djokovic.
Organizers of two tournaments in Berlin said Tuesday the city health authorities have approved a limited number of spectators.
The maximum is set at 800 per day for a July 13-15 outdoor event on grass, and 200 per day for a hardcourt event in a hangar at the disused Tempelhof airport from July 17-19.
Premier League funding to help English women’s soccer resume
LONDON — The Premier League is providing around 1 million pounds ($1.2 million) to help the women’s league start next season during the Coronavirus pandemic.
The 2019-20 Women’s Super League and Championship campaigns were abandoned in May. The Football Association, which runs the women’s leagues, wants the new season to start on Sept. 5.
“What we’ve been able to do for the women’s game is to help them to the tune of around 1 million pounds to help them get their testing program up and running,” Premier League chief executive Richard Masters said Tuesday. “We’ve recently made that funding gesture to them and I believe on that basis they are able to start their 2021 season.”
Masters wants the Premier League to take over the running of the elite women’s competitions from the FA but said now was not the right time.
Motion alleges Brown violated sports gender equity agreement
Attorneys have filed a motion alleging that Brown University violated a 22-year-old agreement to provide gender equity in varsity sports in order to comply with federal Title IX law by recently eliminating several women’s athletic teams.
Attorneys for Public Justice and the American Civil Liberties Union of Rhode Island allege in the motion filed in federal court Monday that the Ivy League school violated terms of the 1998 agreement when it announced last month it would cut women’s fencing, golf, squash, skiing and equestrian teams in an effort to streamline its athletic department.
Several men’s sports were also cut, although some were later restored.
Brown said it would add co-ed and women’s varsity sailing teams to stay in compliance with the agreement.
But the Providence-based school can’t comply with the original settlement based on “teams that do not exist,” according to the ACLU and Public Justice.
Tigers give $8.4M deal to Torkelson, who joins player pool
DETROIT — No. 1 overall draft pick Spencer Torkelson and the Detroit Tigers agreed to a minor league contract on Tuesday, and the team said the infielder will join its player pool for this abbreviated season.
Torkelson’s deal includes an $8,416,300 is a signing bonus, which is $1,000 above slot value, and a $2,500 contingent bonus. He is to receive $100,000 within 30 days of the deal’s approval by Major League Baseball, and 50% of the rest on each July 1 in 2021 and 2022.
Detroit had the top pick for the second time in three years after drafting right-hander Casey Mize in 2018.
Undrafted out of high school, Torkelson hit 54 home runs at Arizona State. The Tigers took the slugging first baseman with the top pick, then said they intended to try him at third.
He’ll get a chance to show what he can do, sooner rather than later. Detroit announced 58 selections for its player pool Sunday, leaving two spots open. On Tuesday, the Tigers said Torkelson will be added to that group.
Grinnell College cancels fall sports
Grinnell College in Iowa says it will cancel football and other fall sports because of concerns about the Coronavirus.
The Division III school announced it would cancel sports including football, soccer, golf, cross-country and volleyball. The college, located in the small city of Grinnell about 45 miles east of Des Moines, competes in the Midwest Conference.
Messi scores 700th goal, Barcelona held 2-2 by Atlético
BARCELONA, Spain — Lionel Messi scored his 700th career goal for club and country before Atletico Madrid came back to draw 2-2 in the Spanish league on Tuesday and deal Barcelona’s title hopes a major blow.
Barcelona’s third draw in four rounds left it in second place, one point behind leader Real Madrid. Madrid hosts Getafe on Thursday with a chance to open up a four-point lead with five more matches remaining.
Barcelona struck first in the 11th minute when Atlético striker Diego Costa inadvertently redirected a corner by Messi into his own net.
Ronaldo’s rocket powers Juventus to 3-1 win at Genoa
ROME — Cristiano Ronaldo scored with a long-range rocket on a night when each Juventus goal was more spectacular than the other in a 3-1 win at relegation-threatened Genoa.
Chasing a record-extending ninth straight Serie A title, the victory restored Juventus’ four-point lead over Lazio, which won 2-1 at Torino earlier Tuesday.
Since losing the Italian Cup final to Napoli in a penalty shootout, Juventus has won all three of its league matches in the restart.
Paulo Dybala opened the scoring shortly after the break by evading three defenders before firing in a low shot that Genoa goalkeeper Mattia Perin, who is on loan from Juventus, could only get a weak hand on.
Bills say season ticket holders can skip 2020
The Buffalo Bills have advised season ticket holders there is a chance games may be played without fans this season because of the Coronavirus pandemic.
With that in mind, the team began emailing season ticket holders on Tuesday to give them the chance to opt out of their commitment for this season, with an option to return for the 2021 season. They would maintain their account seniority and seat location.
The Bills said they are working with the NFL and state and local governments to establish policies and procedures to create and maintain the safest possible environment for spectators at New Era Field.
Judges question warrants in Kraft massage parlor sex case
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Florida appellate judges on Tuesday questioned the legality of search warrants that let police secretly video record New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft and others paying for massage parlor sex, pressing a prosecutor on his contention that the warrants were legally valid.
Deputy Solicitor General Jeffrey DeSousa found himself repeatedly queried by the three-judge panel as he tried to persuade them that the warrants and searches met all constitutional protections and that they should overturn lower court rulings that barred the recordings’ use at trial.
Misdemeanor charges against Kraft, 79, and other customers would have to be dropped if those rulings stand, although felony charges against the spa owners might proceed as there is other evidence against them.
F1 drivers discuss whether to take a knee at season opener
LONDON — Formula One drivers will discuss taking a knee at the opening race of the delayed season in Austria on Sunday.
“Some of the drivers have already been speaking,” McLaren driver Lando Norris said. “If we are going to do it, we should all do it as a grid. It will be discussed following the drivers’ briefing with the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association on Friday.”
The Black Lives Matter movement has been supported by soccer players in Germany, Italy and England taking a knee before and during games.
Soccer players’ union points to racial bias in broadcasts
LONDON — The soccer players’ union in England believes racial bias is evident during broadcasts of matches based on the language used by commentators in European leagues.
The study conducted by Danish research firm RunRepeat in association with the Professional Footballers’ Association found 63% of praise regarding a player’s intelligence was aimed at those with lighter skin, while 63% of criticism for a player’s intelligence was aimed at those with darker skin tones. The findings also show that 60% of praise for work rate was directed at lighter-skinned players.
The study looked at 80 matches in the Premier League as well as the top divisions in Italy, Spain and France this season. They analysed 2,073 statements made by broadcasters speaking in English working for media outlets in Britain, the United States and Canada.
Premier League still mulling Saudi-led bid for Newcastle
LONDON — A Saudi Arabian consortium’s takeover of English soccer club Newcastle has yet to be approved, Premier League chief executive Richard Masters said Tuesday during questioning at a British parliamentary hearing into the country’s human rights violations and broadcasting piracy.
After three months assessing the bid, Masters gave no indication of when there would be a decision on whether to allow the Saudi sovereign wealth fund to own Newcastle.
Leroy Sane set to leave Man City for Bayern Munich
Manchester City has agreed to sell winger Leroy Sane to Bayern Munich in a deal worth up to 60 million euros ($67 million), a person familiar with the deal said.
Bayern is set to make an initial payment of 49 million euros and City could receive a further 11 million euros based on Sane’s achievements with the German champions, the person told The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity, confirming British media reports, because details of the deal have not been made public.
The 24-year-old Germany international, who joined City from Schalke in 2016, only had one year remaining on his contract in Manchester.
Grizzlies’ Morant apologizes for anti-police Instagram post
MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Memphis Grizzlies rookie guard Ja Morant posted and deleted an Instagram photo suggesting he’d replace his name with an expletive on his number 12 jersey in a protest against police.
Morant apologized Sunday night, saying the message didn’t “accurately convey” what he wanted to share and that he knows “there are good cops ‘12’ out there.”
“My post was intended to focus on bad cops who get away with the murder of unarmed Black men and women and those who continue to harass peaceful BLACK LIVES MATTER protestors,” Morant said.
High school football, girls soccer won’t start on time
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Tennessee Secondary Schools Athletic Association said Tuesday that football and girls’ soccer will not start on schedule because of the Coronavirus pandemic.
Season openers had been set for Aug. 21 with jamborees a week earlier but on Monday Gov. Bill Lee extended Tennessee’s state of emergency through August 29. Among other things, Lee’s order limits contact sports “with a requirement or substantial likelihood of routine close contact.”