Update on the latest sports
Eds: CORRECTS: Corrects University of Michigan-Doctor story to say the person who told coach Bo Schembechler about abuse was a student who was associated with the football team, not a football player. This also updates the Virus Outbreak-Sports stories with Britain deciding not to allow fans.
Phils-Jays weekend tilt called off
UNDATED (AP) – Major League Baseball says this weekend’s three-game series between the Philadelphia Phillies and visiting Toronto Blue Jays has been postponed. The move is a precaution following a recent COVID-19 outbreak in the visiting clubhouse at Citizens Bank Park.
Seventeen Miami Marlins players have tested positive since opening a three-game series in Philadelphia last weekend. The Phillies haven’t played since losing to the Marlins last Sunday.
The Phillies said there were no positive results among players from Wednesday’s testing of their team. But there were two positives: One from a a member of the coaching staff and one from a member of the home clubhouse staff.
In other MLB news:
– Doubleheaders will now become a pair of seven-inning games in baseball’s latest radical rule change during a season reshaped by the coronavirus pandemic. A person familiar with the plan tells The Associated Press that Major League Baseball and the players’ union reached agreement on the new twinbills. MLB had already added designated hitters to National League games this year and added an automatic runner at second base to start all half-innings in extras.
– Angels outfielder Mike Trout was placed on the paternity list before Thursday’s game against the Mariners. The reigning AL Most Valuable Player and his wife are expecting their first child, which was due Monday. Trout initially expressed reservations about playing the season due to the coronavirus pandemic.
– Home plate umpire Joe West missed two innings of Thursday’s Nationals-Blue Jays game after getting bloodied when he was hit in the head by leadoff hitter Bo Bichette’s flying bat in the top of the first. The 67-year-old West is the senior umpire in Major League Baseball. He was struck near his left ear when Bichette lost hold of his bat while missing the first pitch thrown by Washington’s Erick Fedde (FEH’-dee). West returned in the middle of the third inning and began working at third base.
– Big league hitters have opened this 60-game sprint by stumbling out of the blocks. The league-wide batting average is .229, down from .252 last season. The number is stunning, considering the National League has adopted the designated hitter for this season. The all-time low for batting average is .237, set in 1968, “the year of the pitcher.”
– Mike Foltynewicz (fohl-tih-NAY’-vihch) is getting another chance with the Braves. Foltynewicz has cleared waivers and was outrighted to the team’s alternate training site. He was designated for assignment by the Braves on Tuesday following an alarming drop in velocity in summer camp and in his 14-5 loss at Tampa Bay on Monday night.
Bills send rookies home
UNDATED (AP) – The Buffalo Bills are the first team in the NFL to send their rookies home and hold training camp remotely after two more players tested positive for COVID-19.
Defensive backs Siran Neal and Dane Jackson both tested positive, upping the team’s total to five since rookies reported on July 21.
The Bills did not provide a timeline as to how long rookies would continue working remotely.
In other NFL news:
– The New York Jets placed quarterback Joe Flacco, linebacker Avery Williamson and tight end Ryan Griffin on the physically unable to perform list. Flacco is recovering from a serious neck injury that sidelined him for half of last season with Denver. He was released by the Broncos in March, underwent surgery in April, and was signed to a one-year deal by the Jets in May. They hope he will be the backup to Sam Darnold.
– The list of players placed on the NFL’s reserve/COVID-19 list now includes Browns punter Jamie Gillan, Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr, Raiders running back Devontae Booker and 49ers running back Jeff Wilson Jr. Meanwhile, rookie running back Malcolm Perry is among several Dolphins players who have donated convalescent plasma after recovering from COVID-19.
– The NFL’s chief medical officer says it’s not surprising there have been positive tests for COVID-19 among players reporting to training camp. Dr. Allen Sills notes that the disease is cutting across football just as it has through societies around the world. Sills says the league wanted to examine the results of recent COVID-19 tests before releasing the number of positives.
– The Carolina Panthers have decided to keep Joey Slye as their kicker and release veteran Graham Gano (guh-NOH’), who missed all of last season with a knee injury. Gano took over as the team’s kicker in 2012 and spent seven seasons handling field goals and kickoffs for the Panthers.
– Titans general manager Jon Robinson says he has been in touch with Vic Beasley and that the linebacker knows his absence from training camp is unexcused. Robinson said in a statement Thursday that Beasley told him he will be reporting to camp in the “near future.” Beasley was the Titans’ big free agent signee in March.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL-IOWA-RACIAL BIAS
Inquiry finds racial bias, bullying in Iowa football program
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) – An investigative report has found that the Iowa football program has suffered from racial bias against Black players and bullying by a small number of current and former coaches.
University of Iowa President Bruce Harreld says the report from an outside law firm shows that the “climate and culture must and will change within our football program.”
Coach Kirk Ferentz, the longest-tenured head coach in college football, is expected to keep his job. The report found that many players believe he has already made several positive changes.
UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN-DOCTOR
Former student: Schembechler knew of abuse at U of Michigan
(Eds: Corrects former player to former student)
DETROIT (AP) – Dozens of more victims who said they were molested by a University of Michigan doctor have filed a lawsuit against the school. They include a former student who claims he told legendary coach Bo Schembechler about the abuse in 1982. It’s the first time that a victim has said Schembechler, who died in 2006, was aware of allegations against the late Dr. Robert Anderson. Anderson worked at Michigan, especially with athletes, from the mid-1960s through 2003. The university believes Anderson assaulted male athletes during routine physicals and injury exams. It has hired a law firm to investigate hundreds of complaints while expressing a willingness to ultimately compensate victims. In response to the latest lawsuit, the school says it condemns all sexual misconduct.
NCAA extends size of football sideline area
UNDATED (AP) – The NCAA playing rules oversight committee has announced alterations in football and other sports to accommodate for COVID-19 concerns this coming season.
The sideline area college football teams use to congregate will be extended by 20 yards.
Currently, as many as four team captains can participate in the coin toss. That has been reduced to one and only two officials will be allowed to participate.
In soccer, the penalty for spitting at an opponent has been increased from an ejection and one-game suspension to an ejection and two-game suspension. In volleyball, teams will not switch benches during a match.
In other news related to the coronavirus pandemic:
– The SEC is the latest college conference to announce that it will play only league games in 2020. University presidents have agreed on a 10-game schedule that eliminates all nonconference opponents and is set to begin Sept. 26 and will conclude with the SEC title game on Dec. 19. The Big Ten and Pac-12 have already announced plans to play only conference games, while the ACC has announced a reworked 11-game schedule that left room for one non-conference game.
– A total of 457 Division I football games have been canceled or postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic. According to Associated Press research, 134 Football Bowl Subdivision games are off. That number is 383 for the Football Championship Subdivision.
– Georgia Tech has moved this season’s home game against Notre Dame to its campus stadium, citing uncertainty over scheduling because of the coronavirus pandemic. Georgia Tech was set to play Notre Dame at Atlanta’s 75,000-seat Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Nov. 14. Uncertainty over the playing date prompted the school to move the contest to its regular home venue, 55,000-seat Bobby Dodd Stadium.
– Top-ranked Ash Barty has withdrawn from the U.S. Open because she’s not comfortable with traveling during the coronavirus pandemic. The 24-year-old Australian is the highest-profile player so far to pull out of the Grand Slam tournament in New York because of the global health crisis. The U.S. Open is set to start Aug. 31.
– The LPGA Tour’s return to golf has yielded two positive tests for the coronavirus out of the 466 given to players and caddies before they traveled and when they arrived in Ohio for the LPGA Drive On Championship. The LPGA says Marina Alex had no symptoms when she tested positive before leaving for Inverness, and she is expected to return to the tour next week following 10 days of quarantine. Gaby Lopez has the positive test result out of the 233 given to players and caddies at the tournament.
– Formula One driver Sergio Perez is out of Sunday’s British Grand Prix after testing positive for the coronavirus. The Racing Point driver, who is Mexican, will now go into isolation. The race on Sunday will be the fourth in the pandemic-affected season that should have begun in March.
– Britain has reversed course and now says spectators will not be able to attend sporting events in England because the coronavirus infection rate is rising. Fans were due to attend horse racing, cricket and snooker in the coming days as part of pilot events but Prime Minister Boris Johnson says fans will no longer gather at sporting events until at least Aug. 15. They were initially approved to test procedures ahead of a planned wider re-opening of stadiums in October. The Oval cricket stadium in London has been used as a test for fans returning in the last week.
PGA-FEDEX ST. JUDE
Koepka has lead through 18
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) – Defending champion Brooks Koepka (KEHP’-kuh) has matched his career best with an 8-under 62 to take a one-stroke lead over Rickie Fowler and Brendan Todd in the first round of the FedEx St. Jude Invitational.
Koepka had nine birdies and a bogey on a windy day at TPC Southwind in the World Golf Championship event. The round comes a week after he missed the cut in Minnesota in the 3M Open.
Sung Kang shot 65. Justin Thomas fired a 66 and was tied with Matt Kuchar (KOO’-chur), Chez Reavie (REH’-vee) and Max Homa. Thomas can reclaim the No. 1 ranking with a victory this weekend.
Molinari, Harrington withdraw from PGA Championship
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – Francesco Molinari and Ryder Cup captain Padraig Harrington have withdrawn from the PGA Championship next week at TPC Harding Park.
Neither gave a reason, and both major champions have not played since the COVID-19 pandemic led to golf being shut down for three months.
They were replaced by Troy Merritt and Talor Gooch.