Update on the latest sports
Yanks closer Chapman has coronavirus; Astros cancel workout
HOUSTON (AP) — New York Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman became the latest high-profile player to test positive for the coronavirus on a day the Houston Astros canceled practice for the second time in a week due to virus concerns. In New York, manager Aaron Boone announced Chapman’s diagnosis on Saturday, saying he “overall was doing well” despite experiencing mild symptoms, but that he won’t “be here for the foreseeable future.”
Chapman threw a bullpen session Tuesday and Boone wouldn’t comment on whether he had been at Yankee Stadium since. Boone said the team had gone through contact tracing protocols, and no other players or personnel would be forced to isolate because of Chapman’s positive test.
In Houston, the Astros canceled their workout after learning that a staff member could have been exposed to a person outside the organization with the coronavirus. It’s the second time this week the Astros have canceled a workout because of concerns about the pandemic. Houston also scrapped its Monday workout because of delays with testing results due to the holiday weekend, as did some other teams around the majors.
In other MLB news:
— Texas Rangers outfielder Joey Gallo says he doesn’t know if he actually had the coronavirus despite two positive tests, since he never had any symptoms and also had multiple negative tests. Gallo said Saturday that he planned to have a more extensive antibody test to be sure after a finger-prick test didn’t indicate that he had COVID-19. The All-Star slugger missed the first week of the Rangers summer camp after two positive tests that sandwiched a negative result during intake testing.
— Cleveland Indians outfielder Delino DeShields Jr. worked out with his teammates at training camp for the first time after being sidelined by the COVID-19 virus. DeShields had suffered some “mild symptoms” after testing positive with the virus before the Indians reported to Cleveland for the re-start of training camp last week. DeShields arrived a few days ago, but he was only cleared Saturday after twice testing negative. DeShields is one of 10 outfielders trying to win a spot on the club’s 30-man roster. He batted .249 and stole 24 bases in 118 games for the Rangers last season.
— Yoenis Céspedes is sure he’ll be ready to start the pandemic-delayed season with the New York Mets. Out of the lineup for almost two years, the 34-year-old slugger said Saturday he finally is close to fully recovered from a string of injuries to his feet and legs. The Mets open at home July 24 against Atlanta. And with the designated hitter available in the National League this year, Céspedes is a prime candidate for that role during a shortened schedule of 60 games. The two-time All-Star missed last season and most of 2018. He had surgery on both heels and then broke his right ankle in a nasty fall at his Florida ranch.
— Arizona Cardinals owner Michael Bidwill has tested positive for COVID-19. The team says after Bidwill developed symptoms, he tested positive and went to the hospital on the recommendation of his doctor. His condition has improved and he’s expected to be released this weekend. The team believes the 55-year-old Bidwill caught the virus while traveling and spending time on the East Coast for several weeks. He’s been working remotely since March and the team says he hasn’t had in-person contact coaches or players.
LeBron won’t wear social justice message on Lakers jersey
UNDATED (AP) — LeBron James says his thoughts on social justice can’t be contained on the back of a basketball jersey. The Los Angeles Lakers superstar won’t wear one of the NBA-approved social justice messages on the back of his jersey when the NBA resumes competition later this month in the Orlando bubble. As part of the NBA’s recognition of the nationwide invigoration of the social justice movement sparked by the death of George Floyd, NBA players are allowed to choose from a lengthy list of possible messages for their jerseys during the league’s restart. James is among just a few who declined to choose one of the messages, he said.
Elsewhere in the NBA:
— San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich says he had some reservations about being at the NBA restart at the Disney complex near Orlando, Florida. But after talks with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and others, he decided it would be smart and safe to be with the Spurs for the resumption of the season. Popovich says it’s about more than basketball. He points to how the league can help make changes in society by raising awareness to social causes and a need to combat racism.
PAC-12 shifts to conference-only
UNDATED (AP) — The Pac-12 has become the second major conference to shift to a conference-only fall schedule amid growing concerns over the coronavirus pandemic. The decision covers football, women’s and women’s soccer and women’s volleyball. Conference-only schedules will be announced no later than July 31. The announcement came a day after the Big Ten opted to eliminate nonconference games for all fall sports. The Atlantic Coast, Big 12 and Southeastern conferences are still weighing options for fall sports.
In other developments related to the COVID-19 pandemic:
— Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott has tested positive for COVID-19. The 55-year-old tested positive late this week after experiencing flu-like symptoms and is self-quarantining at the direction of his doctor, according to a statement by the conference. Scott is continuing to carry on his duties as commissioner remotely.
— IndyCar has welcomed fans to its races for the first time this season. Josef Newgarden earned the pole position Saturday for the opening race of a weekend doubleheader at Road America in Wisconsin. Newgarden also earned the pole at Road America in 2018 and went on to win that race. Jack Harvey will start in the second position for the second straight race. Scott Dixon qualified ninth as he seeks his third straight victory.
NHRA resumes season, Johnson tops Funny Car qualifying
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Tommy Johnson Jr. topped Funny Car qualifying Saturday at the NHRA Nationals in the series’ return from a more than four-month break because of the coronavirus pandemic. Johnson, the winner in the last race before competition was suspended, had a 3.983-second run at 317.72 mph in a Dodge Charger in front of a limited number of fans at Lucas Oil Raceway.
Steve Torrence led in Top Fuel, Jason Line in Pro Stock and Eddie Krawiec in Pro Stock Motorcycle. Torrence had a 3.779 at 321.19, Line ran a 6.626 at 206.10 in a Chevrolet Camaro, and Krawiec had a 6.897 at 196.24 on a Harley-Davidson.
The NHRA resumed its season Saturday in front of an expected crowd of 3,000 to 4,000 at Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis. NHRA President Glen Cromwell said ticket sales were capped at about 10 to 15% of normal capacity. They also are expected to attend Sunday’s finals. Most fans wore face coverings on a hot, sun-drenched day, complying with county guidelines, and observed social distancing in the stands, pits and at concession areas.
The weekend ends a 138-day hiatus for America’s top drag racing series.
Stars’ Polak, Canucks’ Baertschi won’t report to NHL camps
UNDATED (AP) — Dallas defenseman Roman Polak and Vancouver forward Sven Baertschi have joined the list of players who won’t be reporting to training camp for the resumption of the NHL season.
Polak is not on the Stars’ roster for the start of training camp Monday, and a team spokesman said the 34-year-old veteran won’t be attending at this time. Polak is a pending free agent who last month agreed to a deal in his native Czech Republic next season and told reporters there he wasn’t planning on returning to the NHL if play resumed.
Baertschi told the Canucks he’d be opting out of participating in the expanded 24-team playoffs.
Calgary Flames defenseman Travis Hamonic on Friday became the first player to publicly choose not to play for family reasons. Hamonic’s daughter was hospitalized last year with respiratory issues, and he and his wife also have a baby boy.
The Tampa Bay Lightning won’t have captain Steven Stamkos at 100% for the opening of camp because of a lower-body injury, but they’re optimistic he’ll be ready when games get under way in early August.
The Minnesota Wild, who face the Canucks in the qualifying round, have ruled out defenseman Greg Pateryn indefinitely with an upper-body injury.
NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said Saturday the league will be taking over injury and illness disclosure from teams as a way of protecting player privacy.
In other NHL news:
— The NHL and the players union are credited for putting aside past differences in taking a collaborative approach in ratifying a return-to-play plan that also includes the assurance of labor peace through September 2026. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman described the months-long negotiations as unprecedented in how the two sides addressed the wide variety of concerns and challenges raised after placing the season on pause in March because of the new coronavirus pandemic. NHL Players’ Association chief Don Fehr said the pandemic forced both sides to work in “common spirit” in order to salvage what’s left of the season.
—NHL Games are scheduled to begin Aug. 1 in Toronto and Edmonton, Alberta. Coronavirus cases in the U.S. are pushing the league into Canada for the summer and fall until the Stanley Cup is awarded in late September or early October.
HORSE RACING-ART COLLECTOR
Art Collector takes the Blue Grass at Keeneland
LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — Art Collector took a big step toward the Kentucky Derby, pulling away from the filly Swiss Skydiver in the stretch in the Blue Grass at Keeneland for his first graded stakes victory.
The Kentucky-bred son of Bernardini and Distorted Legacy by Distorted Humor started the $600,000, Grade 2 event from the No. 3 post and battled Shivaree and Swiss Skydiver to the far turn. Rushie joined the chase at the final turn, but before Art Collector and Swiss Skydiver separated themselves from the 13-horse field. The two ran side by side before Art Collector took control at the 1/8th pole in the 3½-lengths win.
Art Collector improved to 3-0 this year and has four wins and a second in eight starts. The colt collected 100 points toward the 146th Derby on Sept. 5 at Churchill Downs.
Pistons’ onetime home, the Palace of Auburn Hills, torn down
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) — One of Michigan’s most beloved sports and entertainment venues was turned into rubble on Saturday with a series of controlled explosions.
The shell and roof of the Palace of Auburn Hills, which was home to three championship Detroit Pistons teams and three Detroit Shock teams and played host to some of the world’s biggest musical acts during its nearly 30-year run, crumbled to the ground following a series explosive pops. The rest of the arena had already been removed.
The Palace, which opened in 1988, held more than 22,000 people for NBA games and up to 23,000 for concerts and other shows, according to nba.com.
After the Pistons relocated in 2017 to downtown Detroit, the arena about 30 miles northwest of the city continued to host concerts and music events, the last in September 2017 by rocker Bob Seger.
It also became the second suburban Detroit arena that found little real use after its main sports tenant took its games back to the city. The Detroit Lions played at the nearby Pontiac Silverdome from 1975-2001 before moving to Ford Field in Detroit. The Pistons also called the Silverdome home for a decade before The Palace opened. The Silverdome was taken down with a partial implosion in 2017.
England World Cup winner Jack Charlton dies at 85
UNDATED (AP) — England World Cup winner Jack Charlton has died.
Charlton was an uncompromising central defender who played alongside his brother, Bobby, in England’s World Cup-winning side in 1966 before enjoying coaching success with Ireland. Charlton was Footballer of the Year in England in 1967. He spent all his club career at Leeds from 1952-73, tying its all-time record of 773 appearances. He won every domestic honor, including the league title in 1969. His biggest achievement came with the England national team that beat Germany 4-2 after extra time in the 1966 World Cup final at Wembley Stadium.
Charlton died at home on Friday in his native Northumberland in northeast England. He was 85.
Premier League games will be preceded by a minute’s silence this weekend as a tribute to Charlton and players will wear black armbands.
Tennis Integrity Unit eyes suspicious exhibition matches
LONDON (AP) — The Tennis Integrity Unit has raised concerns over 24 “suspicious matches” at exhibitions organized while the men’s and women’s tours are shut down amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The TIU, which investigates match-fixing cases in the sport, said Friday it received reports of the matches at private tournaments staged between April and June.
The reports are filed by gambling companies who track unusual betting patterns around matches. Suspicious betting patterns don’t necessarily mean a match was fixed. A similar effect can also happen if insider information about a player’s injury leaks.
Private tennis exhibitions have proliferated after the ATP and WTA tours closed down in March. Some have little or no oversight. Besides a smattering of events with big-name players, there are many smaller events around the world with low-ranked players.