Update on the latest sports


AP source: Twins reach 1-year, $13M deal with DH Nelson Cruz

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Minnesota Twins are bringing back designated hitter Nelson Cruz on a one-year, $13 million contract, according to a person with knowledge of the negotiations.

The agreement was reached late Tuesday and confirmed Wednesday to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the deal was pending completion of a physical exam.

Cruz turned 40 last season and batted .303 with 16 home runs, 33 RBIs and a .992 OPS in 53 games during the pandemic-shortened schedule.

He has led the team in homers in each of his two years with the Twins while ranking second and fourth, respectively, in the AL in OPS. The six-time All-Star won Silver Slugger awards in 2019 and 2020, when the Twins won the AL Central both seasons.

No player in the major leagues has more home runs over the last seven seasons than Cruz’s 260. He also has the third-most RBIs, 663, during that span, according to Sportradar data.


Saquon Barkley says knee doing well, won’t set return date

UNDATED (AP) — Saquon (SAY’-kwahn) Barkley says his surgically repaired knee is doing well, though the New York Giants star running back won’t set a target date for his return.

The 2018 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year, Barkley tore his right ACL in Week 2 and missed the rest of the 2020 season. The Giants finished 6-10, one win short of winning the dreadful NFC East.

Most players return from ACL injuries after around 10 months or fewer, so Barkley should be ready for Week 1 unless he suffers a setback.

In other NFL news:

— Atlanta Falcons executive Steve Cannon is the recipient of the NFL’s Salute to Service Award. Now in its 10th year, the award recognizes exceptional efforts to honor and support members of the military community. It will be presented Saturday at NFL Honors when The Associated Press announces its individual NFL awards. USAA, a provider of insurance and other services to U.S. military members, veterans and their families, will contribute $25,000 in Cannon’s honor to the official aid societies representing all five military branches. The NFL will match USAA’s donation of $25,000, which will be donated to Cannon’s military charity of choice.


COVID case at Australian Open hotel cancels play at tuneups

UNDATED (AP) — All competition at six Australian Open tuneup events scheduled for Thursday was called off after a worker at one of the tournaments’ Melbourne quarantine hotels tested positive for COVID-19.

Players preparing for the year’s first Grand Slam tournament, which is supposed to begin Monday, must isolate at their hotels until they test negative for the illness caused by the coronavirus.

In a statement announcing the postponement of all matches that were to be played Thursday at Melbourne Park, Tennis Australia pledged to “work with everyone involved to facilitate testing as quickly as possible.”

Any players, coaches or officials who quarantined at the Grand Hyatt hotel in Melbourne were deemed to be casual contacts of the 26-year-old infected man and required to remain in their hotels until they test negative.

Australian Open organizers didn’t immediately have details of how many players would have to isolate.

In other virus-related sports developments:

— The Buffalo Sabres are the latest NHL team to be shut down because of players in COVID protocol. The league announced that the Sabres are shut down through at least Saturday after two players were added to the COVID-19 protocol list. Buffalo played New Jersey twice over the weekend, and the Devils are also off through at least Saturday with 10 players on the list. Buffalo’s game at the New York Islanders scheduled for Tuesday was already postponed. This move postpones three additional games, bringing the NHL’s total to 18 so far.

— The Atlantic Coast Conference says Louisville’s men’s basketball game at Syracuse scheduled for Wednesday night has been postponed. The league said the postponement was due to a positive COVID-19 test, quarantining and contact tracing within the Cardinals’ program. It’s the second postponement in three games for Louisville, which is due to visit No. 14 Virginia on Saturday. The Orange visit Clemson on Saturday.

— The Southeastern Conference has postponed Vanderbilt’s men’s basketball game Wednesday night at Texas A&M, the second game between the teams postponed this season. The SEC says this postponement is because of a combination of positive tests, contact tracing and quarantining of people inside Texas A&M’s program. No make-up date has been scheduled. The first game in Nashville between the teams on Jan. 20 was postponed due to COVID-19 testing, tracing and quarantining with Vanderbilt.


Tokyo Olympics organizers and IOC roll out “Playbooks” for pandemic games

TOKYO (AP) — No cheering for athletes, no visiting bars and restaurants in Tokyo, less intimacy in the Olympic village. Take enough masks for the entire stay but avoid wearing one with an unofficial sponsor logo. Do not use public transport without permission.

Those are among the ground rules published Wednesday for thousands of Olympic and Paralympic officials to ensure safe travel, daily life and competitions at the Tokyo Games during the coronavirus pandemic. It’s the first in a series of “Playbooks” that will be published by International Olympic Committee, International Paralympic Committee and local organizers in Japan to educate visitors.

Those who break the rules with “repeated or serious failures to comply” risk being removed from the Olympic and sent home.

The Playbook repeats the Olympic view that vaccinations are desirable — including out of respect for the people of Japan — but not mandatory, and games participants are not a priority ahead of health and essential workers.

The Olympics open on July 23 and the Paralympics a month later.


Team Canada taps Blues’ Armstrong as GM ahead of Olympics

CALGARY, Alberta (AP) — St. Louis Blues general manager Doug Armstrong will be the GM for the Canadian men’s team if if NHL players participate in the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.

Hockey Canada announced the move Wednesday, tapping Armstrong after he served on the management team that helped Canada win gold medals in Vancouver in 2010 and Sochi in 2014.

Armstrong, who was also GM of Canada’s gold medal-winning team at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey, guided the Blues to the Stanley Cup in 2019 and was the NHL’s GM of the year in 2011-12.

Canada management staff for the 2022 Olympics also includes associate general manager Ken Holland of the Edmonton Oilers and assistant general managers Ron Francis of the Seattle Kraken, Roberto Luongo of the Florida Panthers and Don Sweeney of the Boston Bruins.

The NHL did not participate in the 2018 Games in South Korea after sending its players to the five previous Olympics. The league and the NHL Players’ Association have OK’d negotiations with the International Olympic Committee and the International Ice Hockey Federation on participation at the 2022 and 2026 Winter Games.