LEADING OFF: MLB eases protocols, Altuve on power tear

Major League Baseball has taken another big step in relaxing coronavirus regulations, allowing fully vaccinated players and staff to stop wearing masks in dugouts, bullpens and clubhouses, according to a memo sent by the league and players’ association. Other restrictions related to travel on buses and planes were also eased, including an end to monitor testing. Meanwhile, José Altuve is on a powerful tear at the plate heading into a matchup with Carlos Rodón, and the Diamondbacks and Orioles begin homestands hoping to find their winning touch after a rough time on the road. Arizona set a major league record with its 23rd straight road defeat Thursday, and Baltimore dropped its 19th road game in a row.