Update on the latest sports
COLLEGE BASKETBALL-MEN’S NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP
Gonzaga plays Baylor for men’s NCAA Championship
UNDATED (AP) — No. 1 overall seed Gonzaga plays second-seeded Baylor tonight for the NCAA men’s title.
The Bulldogs are the first team to bring an undefeated record into the championship game since Larry Bird and Indiana State in 1979. Bird lost that game to Magic Johnson and Michigan State. It means Gonzaga could become the first team since the 1976 Indiana Hoosiers to go undefeated.
Gonzaga and Baylor have been 1-2 in The Associated Press Top 25 most of the season.
Cruz 2 HRs, including slam as Twins rout Tigers; Baddoo slam
DETROIT (AP) — Nelson Cruz hit a grand slam, a solo home run and a double as the Minnesota Twins rolled past the Detroit Tigers 15-6. Rookie Akil Baddoo hit a grand slam in the ninth for Detroit.
Matt Shoemaker held the Tigers without a hit until Wilson Ramos homered with two outs in the fifth. He allowed three hits in six innings with five strikeouts and earned his first victory since April 9, 2019. Tigers starter José Ureña lasted only three innings in his Detroit debut.
Nationals, Braves to make up Monday game
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Washington Nationals and Atlanta Braves will play a doubleheader Wednesday to make up a game that was postponed because of Washington’s coronavirus outbreak. Major League Baseball announced the change Monday while Washington’s players were working out at Nationals Park.
Four players on the Nationals have tested positive for COVID-19 and seven more have been placed under quarantine after contact tracing determined they potentially were exposed. The 2019 World Series champions have yet to play a game this season. Their opening three-game series against the New York Mets was postponed entirely. Washington will begin play Tuesday against Atlanta.
In other virus-related developments in baseball:
— Some New York Mets players have hesitated to get vaccinated against the coronavirus, causing the team to set up education efforts. Major League Baseball and the players’ association said in a March 29 memorandum to players that COVID-19 protocols such as mask use and restrictions on movement and gathering would be relaxed once 85% of major league players and primary field staff on a team are vaccinated against the coronavirus. Players on several teams started to get the vaccine last week during the final week of spring training, when they became eligible.
— The Texas Rangers are the first team to approach capacity with their stadium since the coronavirus shutdown of sports more than a year ago. All of the 40,518 seats at Globe Life Field were for sale for the home opener against Toronto on Monday. The Rangers have gained national attention with their plan to fill their year-old stadium. The roof was open. Infectious disease experts are mixed on the view of the club’s decision.
— The Milwaukee Brewers say the team received the COVID-19 vaccine over the weekend but wouldn’t disclose what percentage of players and staffers participated. Brewers president of baseball operations David Stearns declined to say whether the Brewers had reached the 85% threshold. He did say the Brewers who participated received the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Texas governor declines to throw out first ball
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has decided not to throw the ceremonial first pitch at the Texas Rangers’ home opener.
The Republican governor said he made his decision after Major League Baseball moved the MLB All-Star Game from Atlanta in response to Georgia’s sweeping new voting laws. It’s the latest jab in an ongoing fight that’s pushing corporate America into the political battle over voting rights.
Abbott’s decision Monday came hours before the team was set to take the field against the Toronto Blue Jays in the Dallas suburb of Arlington. Major League Baseball and the Texas Rangers have not responded to requests for comment.
In other MLB news:
The Atlanta Braves have brought back relievers Carl Edwards Jr. and Jesse Biddle on minor league contracts. They also signed former Gold Glove-winning infielder Yolmer Sanchez to a minor league deal. Edwards was with the Braves in spring training, but opted out after being told he would not be on the opening day roster. Biddle had some effective performances out of the bullpen, going 6-1 with a 3.11 ERA in 60 games. He’s bounced around since then, pitching for three other teams.
— Cincinnati Reds outfielder Nick Castellanos has been suspended for two games and fined for his role in an on-field brawl during the season’s opening weekend. It was the first discipline given by Michael Hill in his new role as Major League Baseball’s senior vice president for on-field operations. Castellanos appealed the penalty and won’t serve the suspension while the appeal is pending.
Bucks’ Holiday says signing extension was easy decision
MILWAUKEE (AP) — Jrue Holiday says it was an easy decision to sign a contract extension in his first season with the Milwaukee Bucks.
Holiday pretty much knew he wanted to stay in Milwaukee for years to come once he spoke to team officials shortly after they acquired him. The enthusiastic tone of general manager Jon Horst made it apparent how much the Bucks valued the veteran guard. Holiday discussed his decision with reporters one day after agreeing to terms on a four-year extension that would be worth at least $134 million if he exercises his option for the final season.
NHL official says league expects Canucks to finish season
VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — National Hockey League deputy commissioner Bill Daly says the COVID-19 outbreak on the Vancouver Canucks is concerning from a health standpoint, but he says in an email to The Canadian Press the league believes the Canucks will return and conclude their 56-game schedule. He also says the league will not change its COVID protocols in the aftermath of the Canucks’ situation.
Sixteen of the 22 players on the team’s active roster were on the NHL’s protocol list as of Sunday.
So far, the Canucks have had four games postponed because of the virus. Their next scheduled game is Thursday in Calgary against the Flames.
In other NHL news:
—The NHL trade deadline is less than a week away and teams willing to make a deal have some potentially intriguing options. Most franchises might be idle or severely limited because 18 teams have $1 million or less of salary cap space available and the ceiling for what they can spend will not go up next season. Some familiar faces will likely change places by the afternoon of April 12. The traded players in most cases will leave teams with little hope of hoisting the Stanley Cup to franchises with a shot to contend for the coveted prize.
NFL-JETS PANTHERS-DARNOLD TRADE
NEW YORK (AP) — The New York Jets have traded quarterback Sam Darnold to the Carolina Panthers.
It ends a stint in New York for Darnold that was marked by a few flashes of brilliance, inconsistent play and unfortunate injuries. And with the Jets holding the No. 2 overall pick in the NFL draft, they’re moving on to another young signal-caller who might deliver the team back to respectability. New York announced acquired a sixth-round pick in this year’s draft and second- and fourth-round picks in the 2022 draft.
MIRACLE ON ICE-PAVELICH DEATH
Death of ‘Miracle on Ice’ standout Pavelich ruled suicide
ANOKA, Minn. (AP) — A Minnesota medical examiner says last month’s death of “Miracle on Ice” Olympic hockey player Mark Pavelich was ruled a suicide.
The Midwest Medical Examiner’s Office in Anoka County says the 63-year-old Pavelich died of asphyxia. His body was found March 3 at the Eagle’s Healing Nest in Sauk Centre, Minnesota. Pavelich was undergoing treatment there as part of a civil commitment for assaulting his neighbor in August 2019. He was charged with felony assault but Judge Michael Cuzzo found he was incompetent to stand trial because he was mentally ill and dangerous.
Pavelich assisted on Mike Eruzione’s winning goal against the heavily favored Soviet Union in the 1980 Olympics. That U.S. team went on to win the gold medal.