Update on the latest sports
Baseball resumes in South Korea, with no fans
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) – The new baseball season has begun in South Korea with the crack of the bat and the sound of the ball smacking into the catcher’s mitt echoing around empty stadiums.
Umpires wore protective masks and cheerleaders danced beneath rows of unoccupied seats as professional baseball got back on the field after a weeks-long delay because of the coronavirus pandemic.
There were many faces in the stands in at least one stadium but they were pictures instead of real people because fans aren’t allowed into the venues.
The country’s professional soccer leagues will kick off Friday. They will also play without spectators in the stadium.
New cycling calendar bunches up biggest races
UNDATED (AP) – The three biggest races in cycling will take place in a 72-day span and there will be an overlap of the Spanish Vuelta and the Giro d’Italia if competition resumes in August amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The Tour de France’s start remains slated for Aug. 29 in the Riviera city of Nice. The season is now expected to end after the Spanish Vuelta on Nov. 8.
The Giro d’Italia will run from Oct. 3-25 and overlap with the Spanish Vuelta and prestigious one-day races Liege-Bastogne-Liege, the Amstel Gold Race, Gent-Wevelgem and the Tour of Flanders.
The Spanish Vuelta has already been cut short to 18 stages and will start on Oct. 20. That is five days before Paris-Roubaix.
The International Cycling Union says racing will resume on Aug. 1 with the Strade Bianche in Italy and be followed by the postponed Milan San Remo classic on Aug. 8.
Racing was suspended in March because of the pandemic.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-SPANISH TEAM
Spanish soccer players and coaches worry about resuming play
MADRID (AP) – The players and coaches on Spanish soccer club Eibar have released a statement expressing their concerns about restarting the season.
They say they are “afraid of starting an activity” in which they will not be able to comply with physical distancing.
They say they are concerned about getting infected and infecting their family members and friends and worry about the risk of another coronavirus outbreak because of soccer’s return.
They demand “guarantees” and “responsibility” and say the return to action should only happen when everyone’s health is prioritized.
The club itself did not appear to be involved with the statement.
Players from Spanish league clubs are expected to resume practicing this week and matches could restart sometime in June. All players, coaches and club employees must be tested for COVID-19 before training resumes.
Swimming championships postponed until next year
UNDATED (AP) – The European swimming championships have been pushed back to next year because of the coronavirus pandemic and will be used as preparation for the Tokyo Olympics.
The governing body of the sport in Europe says the championships have been postponed by exactly one year to May 10-23, 2021. They will stay in Budapest, Hungary.
The final day is two months before the scheduled opening ceremony of the postponed Tokyo Olympics.
The European event had been provisionally pushed back to August when the original dates were not possible because of the pandemic.
The championships include swimming, diving, open water swimming and synchronized swimming.
Jaguars sign former 49ers, Bears pass rusher Aaron Lynch
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) – Veteran pass rusher Aaron Lynch has signed a one-year contract with Jacksonville. He should give the Jaguars more depth in case disgruntled defender Yannick Ngakoue decides to skip part of the season.
Lynch played 16 games for Chicago last year and had six tackles, two sacks and two passes defensed. He also spent four years in San Francisco. The 49ers drafted him in the fifth round in 2014.
The Jaguars released running back Jeremy McNichols and defensive end Chuck Harris to make room for Lynch and running back Chris Thompson on the roster. Thompson signed last week.