Update on the latest sports
NFL teams face potential forfeits for COVID-19 outbreaks
UNDATED (AP) – The NFL had to reschedule several games last season due to COVID-19 outbreaks within teams. The league won’t be as willing to do that this year.
The NFL has informed teams they could potentially forfeit a game due to an outbreak among non-vaccinated players and that players on both teams wouldn’t get paid that week.
In a memo sent to clubs that was obtained by The Associated Press, Commissioner Roger Goodell said the league doesn’t anticipate adding a 19th week to accommodate games that can’t be rescheduled within the 18-week regular season. However, forfeits are among the consequences. For purposes of playoff seeding, the forfeiting team will be credited with a loss and the other team will be credited with a win.
The league says more than half its teams have COVID-19 vaccination rates greater than 80% of their players, and more than 75% of players are in the process of being vaccinated.
In other NFL news:
– All-Pro middle linebacker Fred Warner has signed a five-year extension with the San Francisco 49ers taking him through the 2026 season. The 24-year-old Warner has started all 48 games in his three seasons with San Francisco, making 79 tackles last season with a sack, forced fumble and two fumble recoveries.
– Running back Saquon (SAY’-kwahn) Barkley is starting training camp for the Giants on the active/physically unable to perform list. The NFL’s 2018 Offensive Rookie of the Year suffered a torn ACL during the Giants’ second game last season and underwent surgery in October. Players on the Active/PUP list can be activated at any time during training camp.
– Jets assistant coach Greg Knapp has died at age 58 of injuries suffered in a bicycle accident near his home in California last Saturday. The family said in the statement that Knapp was struck by a car while riding his bicycle in the city of San Ramon in the San Francisco Bay Area and never regained consciousness.
Bosox win, Rays keep pace
UNDATED (AP) – The Boston Red Sox have retained their lead in the American League East by rallying past the New York Yankees.
The Red Sox trailed in the ninth and 10th innings before beating the Yankees, 5-4. Xander Bogaerts ended the game – and the Yankees’ four-game winning streak by lifting a sacrifice fly in the 10th. It came after Rafael Devers scored on one of four wild pitches by reliever Brooks Kriske in the inning.
Kike (KEE’-kay) Hernandez tied it in the ninth with a two-out, two-run double.
The Sox continue to lead the AL East by one game over the Rays.
Austin Meadows hit an RBI single in the 10th inning to complete the Rays’ comeback in a 5-4 win over the Indians. It was the second straight game-winning hit for Meadows, who delivered a walk-off single to beat the Orioles on Wednesday.
Tampa Bay trailed 4-2 in the ninth before Yandy Diaz led off with a homer and Brandon Lowe (low) followed with an RBI double.
In other major league action:
– The San Francisco Giants scored four times in the ninth inning to turn a 3-1 deficit into a 5-3 victory over the Dodgers in Los Angeles. Darin Ruf worked out a bases-loaded walk to tie it before LaMonte (lah-MAHNT’) Wade delivered a two-run single. Kenley Jansen was one out from picking up the save before the Giants stretched their lead in the NL West to three games over the Dodgers.
– The Padres were 3-2 winners over the Marlins as Blake Snell allowed one run in six-plus innings. The San Diego left-hander scattered three hits, struck out eight and walked three in his longest outing since June 4. Jurickson Profar (JUR’-ihk-suhn PRO’-fahr) had two hits and two RBIs in the victory.
– Kwang Hyun-Kim earned his fifth straight win and the Cardinals homered twice in a 3-2 win over the Cubs. Kim allowed two runs on two hits and a walk with seven strikeouts in six innings. Nolan Arenado and Dylan Carlson provided the longballs as St. Louis moved a game over .500 for the first time since June. 20.
– The Braves rolled past the Phillies, 7-2 as Dansby Swanson launched his first career grand slam and Orlando Arcia (AHR’-see-ah) added a solo shot. Charlie Morton is 9-4 after allowing two earned runs while striking out eight over six innings. The two teams are tied for second in the NL East, four games behind the idle Mets.
– The Athletics picked up a 4-1 win over the Mariners behind Sean Manaea (mah-NY’-ah), who struck out 13 while limiting Seattle to a run and three hits over seven innings. Manaea blanked the M’s until Tom Murphy’s solo homer in the seventh inning. Ramon Laureano supplied a pair of RBI singles and Sean Murphy doubled home a run as Oakland climbed within three games of the AL West-leading Astros.
– Eric Haase hit a three-run homer in the first inning of the Tigers’ seventh consecutive win, 7-5 over the stumbling Rangers. Zack Short and Victor Reyes also homered for the Tigers, who completed a four-game sweep and a perfect post-All-Star break homestand. Texas has lost nine straight, equaling its longest slide this season.
– Jack Mayfield smacked a three-run homer and Andrew Heaney went a season-high seven innings to the Angels’, 3-2 decision over the Twins. Heaney gave up just four hits, two walks and two runs with seven strikeouts in his best outing in six weeks. Mayfield was hitting just .170 this season before his fifth-inning blast.
Rays get Nelson Cruz…Mercedes unretires
UNDATED (AP) – Nelson Cruz will spend the rest of the major league season chasing a playoff berth.
The Rays have acquired the slugging designated hitter in a four-player trade with the Twins. Tampa Bay also receives minor leaguer Calvin Faucher from Minnesota for minor league right-handers Joe Ryan and Drew Strotman.
The 41-year-old Cruz has 436 career homers and 1,202 RBIs. He’s batting .294 with 19 homers and 50 RBIs this season.
Also around the majors:
– Yermin (yehr-MEEN’) Mercedes has changed his mind and is back with the White Sox’s Triple-A affiliate, one day after posting that he was retiring from baseball. Mercedes apologized for his decision to leave the sport and was in the lineup Thursday for the Charlotte Knights against the Durham Bulls. The surprising rookie carried the White Sox with his booming bat early in the season and was sent to the minors following a prolonged slump.
Pelicans hire Suns assistant Willie Green as new head coach
NEW ORLEANS (AP) – The New Orleans Pelicans have hired Phoenix Suns assistant Willie Green as their new head coach. Green is a first-time head coach after serving as an NBA assistant coach the past five years with Golden State and the Suns. He was a member of two NBA title-winning staffs with the Warriors in 2017 and 2018.
In other NBA news:
– Thousands of fans lined the streets of downtown Milwaukee Thursday to catch a glimpse of their beloved Bucks in a parade to celebrate the city’s first NBA championship in half a century. Open-air buses and flatbed trucks carried Bucks stars including Finals MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo (YAH’-nihs an-teh-toh-KOON’-poh) and Jrue (jroo) Holiday, as well as the trophy they captured Tuesday night with a Game 6 victory over Phoenix.
Rangers ink Goodrow
UNDATED (AP) – Forward Barkley Goodrow has signed a six-year contract with the New York Rangers after helping the Tampa Bay Lightning win consecutive Stanley Cups,
The signing comes less than a week after acquiring the rights to the unrestricted free agent from the Lightning for a seventh-round draft pick in 2022.
Goodrow skated in 55 games with Tampa Bay this past season, collecting six goals and 20 points. He led the team with 111 hits and a plus-16 rating.
In other NHL news:
– The Sharks have re-signed forward Rudolfs Balcers (BAL’-surs) to a two-year contract before he hit the market as a restricted free agent. The 24-year-old Balcers had eight goals and nine assists in 41 games last season after being brought back for a second stint with the Sharks.
– The Flyers have sent one-time cornerstone defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere (GAHS’-tihs-behr) to the Coyotes along with second- and seventh-round picks in next year’s draft. Moving on from Gostisbehere gives the Flyers about $4.5 million in salary cap relief over the next two seasons, setting them up to continue a roster overhaul. The 28-year-old had a strong rookie season in 2015-16 but his play tailed off dramatically after that.
– The league has sent teams two versions of the schedule for the 2021-22 season. One includes an Olympic break to pause the season so NHL players can go to Beijing. The other is what the season would look like if the league, players and international officials cannot reach an Olympic agreement.
Crabb out of Olympics due to coronavirus
TOKYO (AP) – American beach volleyball player Taylor Crabb is out of the Olympics after four positive COVID-19 tests. Tri Bourne will take his place as the partner of four-time Olympian Jake Gibb when the competition begins this weekend. Crabb confirmed his withdrawal Thursday in a statement to The Associated Press, noting that he was vaccinated and tested negative before he left the United States but tested positive when he arrived in Japan.
In other Olympics news:
– About 100 of the 613 U.S. athletes descending on Tokyo for the Olympics are unvaccinated. This, according to the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee’s medical chief. Medical director Jonathan Finnoff says some 600 of the American athletes had filled out their health histories as they prepared for the trip, and estimated 83% had replied they were vaccinated. The IOC has estimated around 85% of residents of the Olympic Village are vaccinated; they base that on what each country’s Olympic committee tells them but have not independently verified the number.
– Naomi Osaka’s opening match in the tennis tournament has been pushed back from Saturday to Sunday. Organizers did not immediately provide a reason for the switch, only saying that the move came from the tournament referee. Osaka was originally scheduled to play 52nd-ranked Zheng Saisai of China in the very first contest of the Games on center court Saturday morning.
– The West African country of Guinea has reversed an earlier decision to pull out of the Olympics and will send a delegation of five athletes. The country’s Minister of Sports made the announcement Thursday after national and international outcries that followed an earlier declaration that Guinea would not send athletes to Tokyo, blaming the coronavirus and its variants.
– The World Anti-Doping Agency says several Russian athletes have been kept away from the Games because of doping suspicions based on evidence from a Moscow testing laboratory that was shut down in 2015. WADA’s director general says it intervened with sports bodies to ensure the handful of athletics were not selected. The team of 335 Russian athletes accredited for Tokyo is competing without a national flag and anthem as punishment for state tampering with the Moscow lab’s database.
– U.S. gymnast Kara Eaker is in isolation after testing positive for COVID-19, while teammate Leanne Wong is in quarantine. Both are alternates for the U.S. team. The U.S. delegation of Simone Biles, Sunisa Lee, Jordan Chiles, Grace McCallum, Jade Carey and MyKayla Skinner worked out on each event during podium training on Thursday. They’re staying in a hotel near the venue rather than the Olympic village, a decision made before they arrived.
– Tokyo hit another six-month high in new COVID-19 cases a day before the Olympics begin. Thursday’s 1,979 new cases are the highest since 2,044 were recorded on Jan. 15. Japan’s prime minister placed Tokyo under a state of emergency on July 12, but daily cases have sharply increased since then.
– Tommie Smith, John Carlos and Gwen Berry are among more than 150 educators, activists and athletes who signed a letter Thursday urging the IOC not to punish participants who demonstrate at the Tokyo Games. The five-page letter asks the IOC not to sanction athletes for kneeling or raising a fist, the way Smith and Carlos did at the 1968 Mexico City Games. That move that got them kicked out of the Olympics.
– The IOC says it will now include images of Olympic athletes taking a knee in its official highlight reels and social media channels. Players from five women’s soccer teams kneeled in support of racial justice before their games Wednesday. Those images were excluded from highlights package provided by the IOC to media that could not broadcast the games live.
– Six Polish swimmers have returned home before the Olympics even started, their dreams scuttled by the country mistakenly sending too many athletes to Tokyo. Only 17 swimmers from Poland qualified for the Tokyo Games. The country’s swimming federation put 23 athletes on the plane to Japan, sparking outrage among those who were denied a chance to compete.
SENIOR BRITISH OPEN
Darren Clarke, James Kingston share Senior British Open lead
BERKSHIRE, England (AP) – Darren Clarke shot a 5-under 65 for a share of the Senior British Open lead with James Kingston at Sunningdale.
Clarke had six birdies and a bogey on the Old Course in the final senior major championship of the year, while Kingston played a bogey-free round.
Defending champion Bernhard Langer was a stroke back with Ricardo Gonzalez and Stephen Dodd.