Update on the latest sports
Cabrera homers off Bieber in snow, Tigers beat Indians 3-2
UNDATED (AP) — Miguel Cabrera homered through the snow in his first at-bat of the season, then added a sparkling play at first base to lift the Detroit Tigers to a 3-2 victory over the Cleveland Indians on Thursday.
Matthew Boyd beat reigning Cy Young Award winner Shane Bieber, and the Tigers welcomed their fans back to Comerica Park with a victory. The temperature at game time was 32 degrees, and the snow was starting to pick up a bit when Cabrera connected for his 488th career homer.
Bieber allowed two runs on Cabrera’s homer in the first inning, then another in the second. He pitched fine after that and ended up with 12 strikeouts in six innings. Roberto Perez hit a two-run homer off Gregory Soto in the ninth, but Soto held on for the save.
AJ Hinch won his first game as manager of the Tigers. The former Houston skipper missed last season while suspended in the aftermath of the Astros’ sign-stealing scandal.
Mets-Nats opener postponed over virus issues
UNDATED (AP) — Thursday night’s game between the Nationals and Mets has been postponed after one of Washington’s players tested positive for COVID-19. The Nationals issued a statement saying “ongoing contact tracing involving members of the Nationals organization” was the reason for scrapping the game at their stadium. No makeup date was announced.
Washington general manager Mike Rizzo said Wednesday that one of his team’s players had tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday, before the team left spring training camp. Rizzo said four other players and one staff member were following quarantine protocols after contract tracing determined they were in close contact with the person who tested positive. Rizzo did not identify any of those involved.
The Nationals had planned to send Max Scherzer to the mound to face New York’s Jacob deGrom in a matchup between pitchers who own a total of five Cy Young Awards.
In other MLB news:
— The Red Sox postponed their opener against the Baltimore Orioles because of a forecast of all-day rain in Boston. The game and opening day ceremonies are being moved to Friday, which had been scheduled as an off day.
— Francisco Lindor (lihn-DOHR’) has committed to the Mets for the long haul before his first game. A person familiar with his contract told The Associated Press that Lindor agreed to a $341 million, 10-year deal with New York late Wednesday night. The deal will be the largest ever for a shortstop, passing Fernando Tatis Jr.‘s $340 million, 14-year contract with San Diego signed in February. The 27-year-old Lindor, acquired from Cleveland in January, was eligible for free agency after this season and said this spring he wouldn’t negotiate with the Mets on a long-term contract after opening day. With the ink hardly dry, Lindor will make his Mets debut Thursday night in Washington. He won’t play his first game in New York until next Thursday.
— Infielder Joe Panik was put on the Toronto Blue Jays’ major league roster and George Springer went on the 10-day injured list, among a dozen roster moves ahead of the season opener at the New York Yankees. The 30-year-old Panik agreed to a minor league contract before spring training and was selected from Triple-A Buffalo. He gets a one-year contract paying $1.85 million while in the major leagues and $150,000 while in the minors. Springer was placed on the 10-day injured list with a strained left oblique muscle that will delay his debut with the Blue Jays.
— The Colorado Rockies brought back Jhoulys Chacín (joh-LEES’ cha-SEEN’), agreeing to a one-year deal with the right-hander on the eve of opening day. He was added to the active roster before the opener against the defending champion Los Angeles Dodgers at Coors Field. Chacín spent the first six years of his major league career in Colorado after being signed by the Rockies on Sept. 27, 2004, as a nondrafted international free agent. He’s 10th in franchise history with 38 wins. The 33-year-old bounced around after his tenure with the Rockies, spending time with Atlanta, Milwaukee, Arizona, San Diego, Los Angeles Angels and Boston. The team also designated right-handed pitcher Jairo Diaz for assignment.
— The Atlanta Braves will expand capacity at Truist Park to 50% for their second homestand beginning April 23 against the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Braves are permitting 33% capacity at their initial homestand to allow for ample social distancing, limiting the crowd to about 13,500. Those standards will be in place for the first seven home games. Capacity will increase to 50%, or roughly 20,500, for at least the next seven home games, and the Braves have said they will review their seating policies before each homestand. The Braves’ capacity will be among the highest in the big leagues.
— Major League Baseball and its teams plan to distribute $1.5 million in free tickets this season to essential workers. The tickets will go to, among others, doctors, nurses, police, firefighters, public safety personnel, corrections workers and teachers. The tickets will be divided evenly among the 30 teams, and each club will select recipients, games and seat locations.
Hawks’ Collins out at least a week with sprained ankle
UNDATED (AP) — Atlanta Hawks forward John Collins will be out at least a week with a sprained left ankle, another blow to the injury plagued team.
Collins was injured during during Tuesday night’s loss at Phoenix. He underwent an MRI that showed a lateral ankle sprain and associated bone bruise. Collins has started low-level rehabilitation activities and will be reviewed in a week, ruling him out for at least five games.
The Hawks have dealt with a rash of injuries that have sidelines key players such as De’Andre Hunter, Bogdan Bogdanovich and Cam Reddish for significant periods. Now, Collins has gone down.
In other NBA news:
— James Harden won’t play against Charlotte after leaving Brooklyn’s game a night earlier with right hamstring tightness. He joins fellow All-Star Kevin Durant, who has missed a month and a half with his own hamstring injury, on the injured list for the Eastern Conference leaders. Harden sat out the fourth quarter of the Nets’ 120-108 victory over Houston on Wednesday. He finished with 17 points, eight rebounds and six assists. Coach Steve Nash said after the game he didn’t believe Harden’s injury would be a long-term concern.
— Veteran guard Jeff Teague has signed with the Milwaukee Bucks after getting waived by the Orlando Magic last week. The 32-year-old Teague played 34 games for Boston this season but went to Orlando last week as part of the deal that brought guard Evan Fournier to the Celtics. The Magic waived Teague shortly afterward. This move reunites Teague with Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer. They previously worked together with the Atlanta Hawks. Teague made it to the All-Star Game in 2015 while playing for Budenholzer in Atlanta.
Hall of Fame coach Roy Williams retiring after 33-year run
UNDATED (AP) — North Carolina has announced that Hall of Fame basketball coach Roy Williams is retiring after a 33-year career that includes three national championships.
The decision comes two weeks after the 70-year-old Williams closed his 18th season with the Tar Heels after a highly successful run at Kansas. Williams won 903 games in a career that included those three titles, all with the Tar Heels, in 2005, 2009 and 2017.
UNC lost to Wisconsin in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in his final game, which was Williams’ only first-round loss in 30 tournaments.
Williams spent 10 seasons at his alma mater as an assistant coach to late mentor Dean Smith before leaving to take over the Jayhawks program in 1988. He spent 15 seasons there, taking Kansas to four Final Fours and two national title games. Williams returned to UNC in 2003.
In other college basketball news:
— Michigan’s Juwan Howard is The Associated Press men’s college basketball coach of the year. Howard received 35 of 63 votes from a national media panel. Gonzaga’s Mark Few was second with 16 votes. Baylor’s Scott Drew and Alabama’s Nate Oats tied at five each. Howard has put a quick imprint on his alma mater, continuing the winning tradition John Beilein started. He has also made big inroads in recruiting. Michigan reached No. 2 in The Associated Press poll and finished the regular season No. 4. The Wolverines lost to UCLA in the NCAA regional finals earlier this week.
— Luka Garza of Iowa is The Associated Press men’s college basketball player of the year. The 6-foot-11, 265-pound senior received 50 of 63 votes from a national media panel. Ayo Dosunmu (EYE’-oh dah-SOO’-moo) of Illinois was second with six votes. Garza was the runner-up for last year’s award behind Dayton’s Obi Toppin. He ranked second nationally as a senior by averaging 24.1 points while also improving his shooting percentages. He finished his career as Iowa’s all-time leading scorer.
— Oklahoma State star freshman Cade Cunningham announced Thursday that he will enter the NBA draft after a dynamic season that saw him named a first-team AP All-American. The 6-foot-8 point guard is expected to be a high pick — possibly No. 1 overall. His decision was no surprise — he participated in Senior Night activities before the Cowboys faced Oklahoma in Stillwater.
— Christian Bishop, who excelled as Creighton’s undersized center the past two years, is planning to transfer. Bishop announced on Twitter on Wednesday night he would enter the NCAA transfer portal. The 6-foot-7, 220-pound Bishop averaged 11 points and 6.4 rebounds as a junior, and his 68.1% shooting ranks No. 2 on the school list for single-season field goal percentage. He started all 62 games the past two seasons. He averaged 13 points and 10.3 rebounds in the Bluejays’ three NCAA Tournament games and had double-doubles in their wins over UC Santa Barbara and Ohio.
NFL considering changing onside kick and overtime rules
UNDATED (AP) — The NFL is considering a rule change that would allow teams to maintain possession of the ball after a score by substituting one offensive play for an onside kickoff attempt.
The proposal submitted by the Philadelphia Eagles is among 11 that will be voted on at the spring league meetings. This one would allow teams to keep the ball by converting a fourth-and-15 from their 25-yard line.
Another proposal from the Baltimore Ravens changes the overtime format and eliminates overtime in the preseason. It allows the winner of the overtime coin toss to choose where to spot the ball for the first play or start on offense or defense from the designated spot.
In other NFL news:
— The Atlanta Falcons have re-signed defensive end Steven Means to a one-year contract, bringing back a player who has been a key contributor on and off the field. Means set career highs in tackles, sacks, quarterback hits and forced fumbles while starting 11 of 16 games last season. Means has also been heavily involved in community activities as well. He was a driving force behind the work of the social justice committee to educate local high school athletes about the importance of voting. The Falcons also announced one-year deals with offensive lineman Josh Andrews and defensive tackle Jonathan Bullard.
— Tyson Alualu is sticking with the Pittsburgh Steelers after all. The veteran defensive lineman has signed a two-year contract to remain in Pittsburgh. The 33-year-old had reportedly agreed to a deal that would reunite him with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Alualu played for seven seasons after being taken with the 10th overall pick in the 2010 draft. Alualu never actually signed the contract and ended up deciding to stay in Pittsburgh instead.
AP survey: ADs fear sharing revenue with college athletes
UNDATED (AP) — A bill introduced by two U.S. senators would require schools to share the profits they make from revenue-generating sports with that athletes that play those games. An Associated Press survey of Division I athletic directors found 69% said they would strongly oppose “being required to give college athletes a share of university revenue derived from sports.”
Another 19.6% said they what somewhat oppose sharing athletic department revenue with athletes. Almost 77% of athletic directors said many fewer schools would be competitive in sports if schools had to share revenue with athletes and another 13% said somewhat fewer schools would be competitive.
COLLEGE SPORTS-SURVEY-GENDER ISSUES
In AP survey, ADs raise worries about women’s college sports
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A new AP survey of athletic directors and conversations with ADs and conference commissioners during March Madness show concern about what would happen to women’s college sports under proposals that would put more money in the pockets of some athletes.
The most striking of the survey results released Thursday is that 94% of respondents say it would be somewhat or much more difficult to comply with Title IX gender equity rules if their school were to compensate athletes in football and men’s basketball. More than 70% said some sports would lose funding or be cut. An AP count showed only 14% of Division I ADs are women.
USOPC-SEX ABUSE LAWSUITS
California court says USA Taekwondo must protect athletes
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The California Supreme Court ruled Thursday that the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee was not liable for the sexual abuse of former female taekwondo competitors because it was not close enough to their coach or the athletes.
The ruling provided a layer of insulation from litigation for USOPC, but upheld a lower court ruling that USA Taekwondo, the governing body for the sport, has a duty to protect its athletes from abuse.
The ruling came in a Los Angeles lawsuit by three women who had been aspiring Olympic athletes when their coach sexually abused them for years as minors.
The three won a $60 million judgment against convicted coach Marc Gitelman in 2017 but the trial court threw out claims against USA Taekwondo and the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee.
The women appealed those dismissals, alleging USOPC and USA Taekwondo failed to protect them. An appellate court ruled that USA Taekwondo could be held liable, but not the USOPC because it did not have a close enough relationship with the coach or the athletes.