Update on the latest sports
Final Four spots on the line tonight
UNDATED (AP) — The NCAA men’s basketball tournament will be down to six teams by the end of the night, with two more about to be jettisoned tomorrow.
No. 12 Oregon State has tipped off against second-seeded Houston in tonight’s first game. The Cougars owned a 36-24 lead early in the second half.
Later on, it’s top seed Baylor facing No. 3 Arkansas.
Logano first on dirt
BRISTOL, Tenn. (AP) — Joey Logano took the checkered flag for NASCAR’s first Cup Series race at a dirt track in 50 years.
Visibility was next to nothing during this Monday dust storm at Bristol Motor Speedway, but Logano clung to the familiar bottom lane around the bullring to collect the checkered flag on this NASCAR experiment.
Logano got a jump on Denny Hamlin on the overtime restart to earn his third career victory at Bristol. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. finished second, followed by Hamlin, Daniel Suarez and Ryan Newman.
This was not the Bristol of old. The track had been covered with 2,300 truckloads of red Tennessee clay so that NASCAR could add a dirt track to the Cup schedule for the first time since 1970.
MLB to relax virus protocols when 85% on field vaccinated
NEW YORK (AP) — Card games, car pools and eating at restaurants may be back in the major leagues later this season. Trips to church and sponsor events may return, too.
Mask use would be dropped from dugouts and bullpens, and electronic tracing devices would be eliminated when 85% of major league players and primary field staff are vaccinated.
Communal clubhouse video would return before and after games. Pool tables would be restored, along with team saunas.
A memorandum from MLB and the union obtained by The Associated Press states that all players and staff are “strongly encouraged” to receive vaccines when they are eligible.
Dobnak gets five-year deal
Elsewhere in the majors:
— The Twins have signed right-hander Randy Dobnak to a five-year, $9.25 million contract that includes three club options to extend and increase the deal with the overachieving former ride-share driver. Dobnak went 6-4 with a 4.05 ERA in 10 starts last season, before hitting a slump and being sent to the team’s alternate training site.
— The Cardinals plan to start the season Thursday in Cincinnati with pitchers Kwang Hyun Kim, Dakota Hudson and Miles Mikolas (MY’-koh-las) on the injured list along with outfielder Harrison Bader. Hudson always planned to begin on the season on the injured list as he recovers from Tommy John surgery. Kim is dealing with a back injury, Mikolas with a sore shoulder and Bader has a strained right foreman that could keep him out a month.
Chiefs sign DT Reed
UNDATED (AP) — The Kansas City Chiefs and defensive tackle Jarran Reed have agreed to a $5 million, one-year contract that could be worth up to $7 million. That gives the AFC champions another interior pass rusher to play alongside Chris Jones.
The 28-year-old Reed was a second-round pick by the Seahawks in the 2016 draft. He’s spent his entire career in Seattle, where he had a reputation as a run-stuffer but showed he could get to the quarterback.
Elsewhere in the NFL:
— Veteran safety Josh Jones has re-signed with the Jaguars on a one-year contract.
— The Vikings have agreed to contract terms with cornerback Mackensie Alexander and safety Xavier Woods.
— The Cardinals have signed veteran safety Shawn Williams to a one-year deal. The Cardinals also announced they’re bringing back safety Chris Banjo on a one-year deal.
— The Colts have added depth to their offensive line by re-signing backup center Joey Hunt and adding free-agent tackle Julien Davenport.
— Former Browns coach Hue Jackson says owner Jimmy Haslam and the team’s front office lied to him about their rebuilding plans. During a wide-ranging radio interview with ESPN 850, Jackson said the Browns’ efforts to improve while he was with them were flawed by philosophical differences. He said he never would have accepted the job if he knew the team was going to tear down its roster.
NBA picks July 29 as date for this season’s draft
NEW YORK (AP) — The NBA has scheduled this year’s draft for July 29, though has yet to announce the location for the event.
The draft combine is scheduled for June 21 through June 27 and the draft lottery will be held June 22. July 19 is the deadline for early-entry candidates to withdraw from the draft.
The draft would occur one week after this season’s NBA Finals if the series goes the full seven games.
Surgery for Ekblad
SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) — Florida Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad is likely done for the season after undergoing surgery Monday to repair what the team calls a fracture in his lower extremities.
The Panthers said that Ekblad will need 12 weeks to recover from the injury, which occurred during Sunday’s 4-1 win over the Stars. He was fitted for an air cast on his left leg and taken off the ice on a stretcher.
Ekblad’s 11 goals were tied for the league lead among all defensemen.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-COLLEGE FOOTBALL
Chattanooga ends spring season
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) — Chattanooga’s football team is calling off the rest of its spring season.
School officials said COVID-19 opt-outs made it impossible to field the required number of players in key position groups to meet Southern Conference playing guidelines.