Update on the latest sports
5 Nats player to miss opening day
UNDATED (AP) — Washington Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo says a player for the team has tested positive for COVID-19. Rizzo says four teammates and a staff member have been quarantined on the eve of the start of the regular season after contact tracing.
The positive result came from a test conducted while the Nationals were still in Florida for spring training. They then traveled to Washington.
The club is scheduled to host the New York Mets on Thursday night for opening day. Rizzo said the players involved will not be available to play in that game.
In other baseball news:
— George Springer’s Toronto Blue Jays debut will be delayed while he starts the season on the injured list with a strained oblique muscle. Springer left the Houston Astros to sign a $150 million, six-year contract with the Blue Jays. The 2017 World Series MVP with Houston was scratched from a game on March 9 because of tightness in his abdominal muscles and did not play in any exhibitions after March 21. Springer hit .240 with one homer and two RBIs in 25 at-bats over 10 spring training games.
— Spectators will be allowed in Major League ballparks when the baseball season opens Thursday. Attendance will be limited, but it’s a welcome change for fans who were barred during last year’s pandemic-shortened season. All 30 teams are scheduled to play Thursday, with Juan Soto, Fernando Tatis (tah-TEES’) Jr. and Mike Trout among the stars in action. The first game of the season is at Yankee Stadium, where Gerrit Cole is set to face the Toronto Blue Jays. Weather could be a factor in some spots. Rain is in the forecast on the East Coast and temperatures might in the 30s at Wrigley Field.
— The royals will be without often-injured Kansas City Royals shortstop Adalberto Mondesi will begin the season on the injured list with a right oblique strain for their season opener against the Texas Rangers on Thursday. Mondesi was put on the injured list Wednesday retroactive to the previous day. Nicky Lopez was recalled from the club’s alternate training site in Arkansas.
— The Chicago Cubs have agreed to a one-year deal with catcher Tony Wolters and designated right-hander James Norwood for assignment. Wolters figures to back up Willson Contreras. Wolters is a career .238 hitter with seven home runs and 123 RBIs over five seasons with the Colorado Rockies. The Cubs open at home against Pittsburgh on Thursday.
— The Cleveland Indians will open the season without a definitive closer. Manager Terry Francona says he could use a rotation of relievers to close games in the first few weeks. Veteran Nick Wittgren will likely be the first to get a chance to close with James Karinchak and Emmanuel Clase also in the mix.
— Indians fans won’t be allowed inside Progressive Field wearing Native American headdresses or face paint this season. The team said fans will either be ejected or denied admission for behavior that includes wearing headdresses or “face paint styled in a way that references or appropriates American Indian cultures and traditions.”
— Mike Trout, the consensus best player in baseball, ranked just 10th on the list of top-selling jerseys released by Major League Baseball. That’s behind even Boston Red Sox utility player Kiké Hernández. Trout had the league’s fourth best-selling uniform two years ago, but the three-time MVP has slipped behind players that have recently starred in the postseason or changed teams.
— Marlins Park will be renamed loanDepot park in a multiyear naming rights agreement announced Wednesday by the Miami Marlins. The deal provides additional revenue for the Marlins, who have operated with budget constraints and a small payroll for most of their history.
— The Seattle Mariners have placed center fielder Kyle Lewis on the 10-day injured list due to a bone bruise in his right knee, sidelining the reigning American League Rookie of the Year for opening day.
— A bat Lou Gehrig used late in his career and the original home plate from Yankee Stadium when it opened in 1923 are among the items up for bidding in an online auction this week. SCP Auctions said the Gehrig bat dates to 1938, his next-to-last season in the majors. It came from the collection of Yankees Hall of Fame teammate Earle Combs’ family. The home plate is from the original Yankee Stadium and the year the team won its first World Series championship.
Flyers sign Michigan defenseman York to 3-year rookie deal
Buffalo, N.Y. (AP) — Cam York is foregoing his final two years at Michigan after the defenseman signed a three-year entry level contract with the Philadelphia Flyers. The contract comes into effect this season.
The signing comes after York’s second season at Michigan abruptly ended Friday. The Wolverines were forced to withdraw from the NCAA Tournament before their first-round meeting against Minnesota-Duluth because of a positive COVID-19 test.
The 20-year-old is from Anaheim Hills, California, and was selected with the 14th pick in the 2019 draft.
He had four goals and 20 points in 24 games for Michigan this season. Overall, York finished his college career with nine goals and 36 points in 54 games.
AP Source: Seahawks, Lockett reach 4-year contract extension
UNDATED (AP) — The Seattle Seahawks and veteran wide receiver Tyler Lockett have agreed to a four-year contract extension that includes $37 million guaranteed.
The deal was confirmed by a person who spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity because the extension had not been announced by the team.
The deal locks up Russell Wilson’s favorite target for the foreseeable future and will likely help Seattle in its attempts to ease a salary cap crunch for the 2021 season. Lockett’s current contract was set to expire after this season and carried a salary cap charge of just under $15 million.
In other NFL news:
— The NFL has plans to eliminate some restrictions from its current COVID-19 protocols for vaccinated players, coaches and personnel. Among the elements that could be eliminated are the need to participate in daily testing; quarantine periods due to close contact with an infected individual; and/or refraining from social gatherings among other vaccinated individuals.
— The Buffalo Bills added linebacker depth by signing Tyrell Adams and Marquel Lee to one-year contracts. Adams has five seasons of NFL experience after spending the past three with the Houston Texans.
— New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft denied that the team’s unprecedented free agent spending spree this offseason was in response to watching Tom Brady win the Super Bowl in Tampa Bay. Speaking with reporters, Kraft also blamed Cam Newton’s poor results last season on COVID-19. The 2015 NFL MVP threw for only eight touchdowns in his first year with New England, tested positive for the disease and missed one game. Then he presided over three straight losses when he returned.
NCAA WOMEN’S BASKETBALL-AWARDS
UConn’s Paige Bueckers is AP women’s player of the year
SAN ANTONIO (AP) — UConn star Paige Bueckers is the first freshman ever to win The Associated Press women’s basketball player of the year.
Bueckers was informed she won the award by coach Geno Auriemma during a team video session and broke down as she accepted it in front of her teammates.
Bueckers received 21 votes from the 30-member national media panel that chooses the weekly AP Top 25. Dana Evans of Louisville was second with four votes. The AP started the award in 1995. Bueckers is the 12th UConn player to win it.
Maryland coach Brenda Frese is The Associated Press women’s basketball coach of the year for the second time in her career.
UConn’s Bouknight says he’ll enter the NBA draft
UNDATED (AP) — UConn sophomore James Bouknight has announced his intention to enter the NBA draft.
The 6-foot-5 guard made his decision public Wednesday on social media, writing that being in a position to be part of the league is “a dream come true.”
Bouknight averaged 18.7 points per game this season, but played in just 15 contests, missing eight games after undergoing elbow surgery in early January. He struggled in his final three games and made just 6 of 16 shots in the Huskies’ loss to Maryland in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament.
In other college basketball news:
— Forward Omar Payne entered the transfer portal Tuesday and became the fifth player to leave coach Mike White’s program since the end of the season. Payne joined shooting guard Noah Locke, backup point guard Ques Glover and reserve forward Osayi Osifo in looking to play elsewhere next season. Star point guard and leading scorer Tre Mann entered the NBA draft with plans of hiring an agent. That means Mann has no intention of returning to school for his junior season.
High court takes up NCAA restrictions
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court heard arguments Wednesday in a dispute over NCAA rules limiting education-related compensation for college athletes.
Under current rules, students cannot be paid, and the scholarship money colleges can offer is capped at the cost of attending the school. The NCAA defends its rules as necessary to preserve the amateur nature of college sports. But the former athletes who brought the case, including former West Virginia football player Shawne Alston, say the NCAA’s rules are unfair and violate federal antitrust law designed to promote competition.
A ruling for the former players would not necessarily mean an immediate infusion of cash to current college athletes. It would mean that the NCAA could not bar schools from sweetening their offers to Division I basketball and football athletes with additional education-related benefits. Individual athletic conferences could still set limits.
23-match win streak ends for Osaka
MIAMI (AP) — Naomi Osaka’s 23-match winning streak has ended. No. 2 Osaka lost to Maria Sakkari of Greece Wednesday in the quarterfinals of the Miami Open, 6-0, 6-4.
The defeat was Osaka’s first since February 2020 and ended any chance of reclaiming the No. 1 ranking this week from Ash Barty, who is in the semifinals.
TIGER WOODS CRASH
Detectives find cause of Tiger Woods crash but won’t reveal
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Los Angeles County sheriff says detectives have determined what caused Tiger Woods to crash his SUV last month in Southern California but would not release details, citing unspecified privacy concerns for the golf star. Woods suffered serious injuries in the Feb. 23 crash just outside Los Angeles.
He is in Florida recovering from multiple surgeries.
The Sheriff said detectives have determined what caused the collision but claimed investigators need permission from Woods — who previously named his yacht “Privacy” — to release information about the crash. One police expert refutes those sheriff’s privacy claims.
HORSE RACING-TRIPLE CROWN NOMINATIONS
9 horses added as late nominations to Triple Crown series
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Nine horses have been made eligible to compete in this year’s Triple Crown series with a $6,000 late payment.
Tampa Bay Derby winner Helium and Gotham Stakes winner Weyburn were among the additions when payments were due Monday.
Other late nominees are: UAE Derby runner-up Panadol; Hockey Dad; Turf Paradise Derby winner It’s My House; Maythehorsebwithu; Tiz Mandate; Carrothers, and Back Ring Luck.
There are now 335 horses eligible to compete in the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes.