Update on the latest in sports:
NHL looks to take next step toward resuming play
TORONTO (AP) – The NHL is hoping to move to Phase 2 of its return-to-play protocol early next month. That includes opening practice facilities and allowing small group workouts.
Six players will be allowed in team facilities at one time for the voluntary workouts. No on-ice coaching or instruction is permitted.
A 22-page memo detailing the plan stresses there’s no exact date for the start of Phase 2 or a timetable for how long it will last.
The NHL season was paused March 12 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Japanese baseball season to start on June 19 without fans
TOKYO (AP) – Japan’s professional baseball season will open on June 19 under a plan that excludes fans.
League commissioner Atsushi Saito made the announcement Monday after an online meeting with representatives of the league’s 12 teams.
He said, “I hope we can provide some guidance for sports other than professional baseball.
The announcement came as the state of emergency was lifted in Tokyo and on the northern island of Hokkaido by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. The state of emergency was lifted earlier this month for other parts of the country. Teams can being practice games on June 2.
The season was to have begun on March 20 but the start was postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic. Japan has reported about 850 deaths from COVID-19.
Japan joins South Korea and Taiwan whose leagues are open and playing largely without fans.
SOUTH KOREA-KANG BANNED
Ex-Pirates infielder Kang banned 1 year by Korean league
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) – The Korean Baseball Organization has suspended ex-Pittsburgh Pirates infielder Jung Ho Kang for a year and ordered him to perform 300 hours of community service over a series of drunk driving cases.
South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reports the suspension for Kang will come into effect when he joins a KBO team. He applied to come off the voluntarily retired list last week in a bid to return to the Korean league. Yonhap said the 33-year-old Kang was in the U.S. and didn’t attend Monday’s KBO disciplinary committee hearing. Kang was the first position player to jump directly from the KBO to the majors when he signed with Pittsburgh in 2015.
Patrick Ewing released from hospital
UNDATED (AP) – Patrick Ewing’s son says the Georgetown basketball coach and former NBA great has been released from the hospital and is recovering from COVID-19 at home.
The 57-year-old Hall of Famer who played for the Hoyas in college and the New York Knicks for 15 seasons announced Friday that he had tested positive for the coronavirus and was being treated at a hospital.
Patrick Ewing Jr. said three days later on Twitter that his father was getting better and thanked the doctors and nurses who looked after him during his hospital stay. He also thanked fans for their thoughts and prayers.
The elder Ewing became Georgetown’s coach in 2017.
Here are other stories related to the COVID-19 pandemic:
– The National Women’s Soccer League says players may start training in small groups, provided it is done under league protocols and meets the requirements of local authorities. Teams will be able to progress to full team training on May 30 once they complete five days of small group training. The NWSL season was originally scheduled to start April 18. The league allowed voluntary individual outdoor workouts on May 6.
– Spanish league clubs are now allowed to train with groups of up to 14 players as the league stays on track to restart in less than three weeks. Only 10 players had been allowed in group training last week because of confinement restrictions that are gradually being lifted across the hard-hit southern European nation. Nearly 30,000 people have died with COVID-19 in Spain.
– Europe’s top basketball league has canceled the remainder of its season because of the coronavirus pandemic. It says health concerns had to be paramount despite numerous attempts to find ways to resume play. The EuroLeague is composed of 18 teams across 10 European nations. It had been suspended since March 12. League officials say they “explored every possible option” in trying to find a way to resume the season.
– The French tennis federation will set aside $9.8 million for its players who financially struggle as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The money will come from a larger $38.1 million support plan for French tennis as a whole. It will go to the players ranked outside the Top 100 who won’t receive any compensation from tennis’ international governing bodies.
– The Italian Winter Sports Federation (FISI) is making a formal request to postpone next year’s Alpine skiing world championships in Cortina d’Ampezzo until March 2022. Moving the worlds to March, 2022 would put the event one month after the 2022 Beijing Olympics.
– Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe says the swift development of vaccines and effective treatments for COVID-19 are priorities towards achieving the Tokyo Olympics next year. Abe says recovery from the coronavirus pandemic only in Japan would not be enough to hold the Games because it involves spectators and athletes from around the world. Japan and the International Olympic Committee have agreed to postpone the Games by one year to July 2021. Experts say developing an effective and safe vaccine by the Games next year will be difficult.
GOLF-CHARITY MATCH RATINGS
PGA, NFL stars attract nearly 6 million viewers in TV match
ATLANTA (AP) – Two of the biggest names from the PGA Tour and the NFL proved to be must-see TV.
Turner Sports said the Sunday telecast of “The Match: Champions for Charity” attracted an average of 5.8 million viewers across four of its networks. Turner says it was the most-watched golf telecast in cable TV history.
It said the previous record was 4.9 million viewers on ESPN at the 2010 Masters, the year Tiger Woods returned to golf for the first time since the scandal in his personal life.
Woods and Peyton Manning scored a 1-up victory over Phil Mickelson and Tom Brady at Medalist Golf Club, a match that featured high entertainment with shots and with words, along with raising $20 million for COVID-19 relief funds.
The peak was 6.3 million average viewers from 5:45 to 6 p.m. EDT. That was about the time Brady, who had been lampooned on social media for his golf skills, silenced analyst Charles Barkley by holing out from the fairway for birdie.
The Champions for Charity match was shown on TNT, TBS, truTV and HLN.
The PGA Tour is set to return in two weeks at Colonial in Fort Worth, Texas, for the Charles Schwab Challenge.
NASCAR-HAMLIN CREW SUSPENSIONS
Hamlin crew members suspended 4 races over tungsten drop
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – NASCAR on Monday suspended three critical crew members for Denny Hamlin’s team because a piece of tungsten fell off his car on the pace lap before the Coca-Cola 600.
The tungsten is required to meet minimum weight requirements on the car and the NASCAR rule book states if it is separated at any point it is an automatic four-race suspension for the crew chief, car chief and engineer.
Chris Gabehart, the crew chief, was suspended through June 10 along with car chief Brandon Griffeth and engineer Scott Simmons.
The piece of ballast added to the car weighs 35 pounds and costs $1,877 from the supplier. It fell off the Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota before the start of Sunday’s race and Hamlin went to pit road for additional weight to be added back to the car. He didn’t join the race until eight laps had been completed.