Update on the latest sports
DeGrom still plans to pitch
UNDATED (AP) – New York Mets ace Jacob deGrom wants to start opening day, but his manager isn’t sure that will happen.
The two-time Cy Young Award winner says he feels good two days after leaving an intrasquad game early because of back tightness. A precautionary MRI came back clean, and deGrom thinks he simply might have slept “wrong” the night before.
However, skipper Luis Rojas says the team is taking a day-to-day approach concerning a season-opening assignment as deGrom receives treatment.
In other major league news:
– Tampa Bay outfielder Austin Meadows has been placed on the injured list after testing positive for the coronavirus. Meadows was a first-time All-Star and batted .291 with 33 homers and 89 RBIs last season.
– Yankees hurler Masahiro Tanaka threw a 30-pitch bullpen session Thursday. It was his first mound appearance since he was struck by a line drive off the bat of teammate Giancarlo Stanton on July 4. The 31-year-old right-hander remains uncertain for his first turn through the rotation.
– Cubs pitcher Kyle Hendricks will be the opening day starter against the Brewers next Friday. Hendricks gets the nod over Yu Darvish, who will pitch the second game. Hendricks has been one of Chicago’s most consistent starting pitchers since his big league debut in 2014, going 63-43 with a 3.14 ERA in 163 games.
– Mets second baseman Robinson Cano (kah-NOH’) is back with the team after missing a few days because of personal issues. The 37-year-old Cano said he wants to keep the reasons for his absence to himself, telling reporters he worked out during his absence. He is hoping to be ready for opening day.
– Star third baseman Yoan Moncada has rejoined the White Sox after missing the start of their summer camp. Long regarded as one of baseball’s top prospects, he broke out last season when he set career highs with a .315 batting average, 25 homers and 79 RBIs. He’s currently on the injured list with an unspecified injury.
– Top Mariners prospect Julio Rodriguez has suffered a hairline fracture of his left wrist during a practice. The 19-year-old dived for a ball during a defensive drill and jammed his wrist. Rodriguez has been rated among the top 20 prospects in all of baseball heading into the season.
– Major League Baseball will play crowd noise from its official video game through ballpark sound systems during actual games while fans are ordered to stay away. Stadium sound engineers will have access to around 75 different effects and reactions, according to MLB. The top soccer leagues in England and Spain were the first to return to action with crowd sound from video games.
– Former Phillies infielder and coach Tony Taylor has died at 84. The Phillies said in a statement that Taylor died Thursday from complications of a stroke suffered in 2019. The 1960 NL All-Star batted .261 with 2,007 hits, 1,005 runs and 234 stolen bases in 2,195 career games. Taylor was inducted into the team’s Wall of Fame in 2002.
– The Blue Jays have been given clearance by Ontario and Toronto to play regular-season games in Rogers Centre amid the coronavirus pandemic, although they wait approval from Canada’s federal government. Toronto Mayor John Tory said he urged the federal and provincial governments to approve MLB plan. Major League Baseball needed an exemption to a requirement that anyone entering Canada for nonessential reasons must self-isolate for 14 days.
– A coalition of health department leaders in major American cities are cautioning Major League Baseball to avoid risky behavior when the season resumes next week. The Big Cities Health Coalition made some recommendations about procedures to follow when the baseball season resumes July 23. They range from proper handwashing stations to only traveling on charter flights.
Williamson leaves team for family matter
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP) – The New Orleans Pelicans say top overall draft choice Zion Williamson has left the club to attend to an urgent family medical matter.
The Pelicans say Williamson intends to rejoin the team in the Orlando area for the resumption of the season. But the club has not said whether the former Duke star would be able to return or whether he’ll miss any games because of his departure on Thursday.
Williamson will have to quarantine again when he returns to Central Florida.
Williamson has averaged 23.6 points and 6.8 rebounds in 19 games this season after missing the New Orleans’ first 44 games while recovering from preseason arthroscopic knee surgery.
Also around the NBA:
– Rockets guard and league scoring leader James Harden practiced with his team Thursday for the first time in more than four months. He explained that his arrival at the league’s restart bubble at Walt Disney World was delayed by family issues. Harden came to Disney earlier this week, satisfied his league-mandated quarantine requirements and got cleared to participate. He has been working out but said it was his first time playing actual 5-on-5, contact-laden basketball in more than a month.
NCAA sets COVID guidelines for football
UNDATED (AP) – The NCAA has released its latest guidance to help member schools navigate competition during the coronavirus pandemic, and they come as the prospects of actually playing look grim.
The NCAA says college football players should be tested for COVID-19 at least 72 hours before a game, players with high-risk exposures should be quarantined for 14 days and everybody on the sideline should wear a mask.
NCAA President Mark Emmert said that if there is to be college sports in the fall, they need to get a much better handle on the pandemic.
Elsewhere in college sports:
– The Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference is the third Division I league to postpone its football season, joining the Ivy and Patriot Leagues. The MEAC (MEE’-ak) said it will consider trying to make up the schedule for those sports in the 2021 spring semester. The MEAC is comprised of 11 historically black colleges, although three of those schools plan to leave the conference.
– The West Coast Conference will delay the start of fall competition in all sports until Sept. 24 because of the coronavirus. The league said Thursday that the affected sports are cross country, soccer and volleyball. The decision doesn’t apply to sports which aren’t sponsored by the league, including BYU and University of San Diego football.
– The University of Northern Colorado has suspended athletic workout activities after a spate of positive cases of COVID-19, including among football players who have been advised to quarantine. There is no timeline for when the student athletes will be allowed to return to voluntary workouts at the campus about an hour north of Denver.
COLLEGE BASKETBALL-STANDARDIZED TESTS
Coaches want NCAA to cut SAT, ACT from eligibility standards
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Men’s and women’s college basketball coaches are proposing the NCAA eliminate standardized testing requirements from initial-eligibility standards.
The coaches call exams such as the SAT and ACT “longstanding forces of institutional racism.”
The proposal comes out of the new committee on racial reconciliation formed by the National Association of Basketball Coaches in response to the Black Lives Matter movement and other social justice initiatives.
Woods gets used to silence at Muirfield Village
DUBLIN, Ohio (AP) – Tiger Woods got his first taste of playing competitive golf without adoring admirers since the coronavirus pandemic caused the PGA to hold tournaments without spectators.
Woods received near-dead silence as he opened and closed with birdies en route to a 1-under 71 in opening-round play at The Memorial. He’s five strokes behind leader Tony Finau (FEE’-now), who birdied seven of his final 10 holes for a 66 that puts him one ahead of Ryan Palmer.
Muirfield Village is the first club in 63 years to host back-to-back PGA events. Collin Morikawa won there last weekend at 19-under, beating Justin Thomas in a playoff.
Both Ohio events on LPGA schedule to be played without fans
SYLVANIA, Ohio (AP) – The LPGA will be without spectators when it hosts two events in Ohio, the first since play was shut down by the coronavirus.
The tour resumes with the LPGA Championship at Inverness on July 30 before heading to Sylvania, Ohio, for the Marathon Classic. LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan said there was a chance the tournament would cap attendance at 2,000 spectators. But after talking with county and state officials, the Marathon Classic decided to go without fans.
Serena plans to compete next month
LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) – Serena Williams is planning to make her return to competition at a new hard-court tournament in Kentucky next month.
It’ll be the 23-time Grand Slam singles champion’s first action since playing for the U.S. in the Fed Cup in February, before all sanctioned tennis was shut down the next month because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The women’s and men’s professional tennis tours are scheduled to resume in August.
DC team owner hires law firm amid allegations of workplace misconduct
UNDATED (AP) – Owner Dan Snyder has hired a District of Columbia law firm to review the Washington NFL team’s culture, policies and allegations of workplace misconduct.
The Washington Post reported Thursday that 15 female former employees said they were sexually harassed during their time with the team. The team issued a statement saying that “While we do not speak to specific employee situations publicly, when new allegations of conduct are brought forward that are contrary to these policies, we address them promptly.”
Three members of the front office have left the organization within the past week.
American sprinter Stevens banned 18 months for missed tests
GENEVA (AP) – Olympic finalist sprinter Deajah Stevens has received an 18-month ban for missing doping tests and will miss the Tokyo Games.
The Athletics Integrity Unit says Stevens was unavailable for giving samples three times in 2019 in Oregon and West Hollywood. Three whereabouts violations within one year can lead to a ban.
The 25-year-old American runner’s ban was backdated to start on Feb. 17, 2020. It expires days after the postponed Tokyo Olympics in August 2021.
Track group calls for change of Olympic protest rule
UNDATED (AP) – Leaders of a newly formed athletes group are calling for a change to the rule that bars certain protests at the Olympics. They say it “is in fact preventing athletes from displaying Olympism at the Olympic Games.”
The board of The Athletics Association says it wants changes that will allow athletes to “peacefully protest against social injustices in the world.”
Among the members of the association are Allyson Felix, Christian Taylor, Emma Coburn, Shaunae Miller-Uibo and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce.