Update on the latest sports
MLB: Most in Tier 1 vaccinated
UNDATED (AP) — Major League Baseball says 70% of players, on-field staff and support personnel have been fully or partially vaccinated for the novel coronavirus.
Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred made the announcement during SporticoLive’s online discussion of its estimates to baseball franchise valuations.
In an email to The Associated Press, Manfred said his figure referred to all individuals defined as Tier 1 in MLB’s protocols, which includes players, on-field personnel such as managers, coaches and athletic trainers, plus essential personnel who need to be in close proximity. He said the 70% figure includes partial vaccinations for those receiving two-stage vaccines. MLB told players on March 29 that COVID-19 protocol restrictions would be relaxed when 85% of Tier 1 personnel are vaccinated.
In other virus-related sports matters:
—The NHL is preparing contingency plans if virus restrictions in Canada prevent travel between provinces or back and forth to the U.S. during the playoffs. Commissioner Gary Bettman calls the situation “wildly unpredictable.” All seven Canadian teams played each other in the same division for the entire regular season. That will also be the case during the first two rounds of the playoffs. But a plan will be needed because a Canadian team will make the final four and will face an American team as early as June.
—Boston’s pro sports teams could be playing in front of full-capacity crowds by August, according to new Massachusetts COVID-19 reopening guidelines. Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker’s office announced Tuesday that capacity at large venues, such as indoor and outdoor stadiums, arenas and ballparks, can increase from their current level of 12% to 25% beginning May 10.
—The Minnesota Twins will make up a pair of virus-prompted postponements against the Los Angeles Angels as a doubleheader on May 20. That was originally an off day for both teams, now used to reschedule games from April 17 and 18. The Twins lost to the Angels on April 16 at Angel Stadium before being forced to pause when their total of positive tests reached four. In all, five Minnesota players went on the COVID-19 injured list.
— Pro golfer Tyrrell Hatton is the fourth player to have to withdraw from the Valspar Championship because of a positive test for the coronavirus. Hatton is the No. 8 player in the world ranking, making him the highest-ranked player to test positive on the PGA Tour since world No. 1 Dustin Johnson in Las Vegas last October.Sepp Straka, Will Gordon and Brice Garnett also tested positive this week and withdrew.
Dolphins trade Flowers to Washington
MIAMI (AP) — The Miami Dolphins have agreed to trade guard Ereck Flowers to Washington in a deal that also includes a swap of late-round draft picks.
Flowers’ agent, Drew Rosenhaus, says the Dolphins will pay the veteran guard $6 million as a signing bonus for a restructured contract this year, and Washington will pay him a $3 million base salary. Flowers signed a $30 million, three-year deal with the Dolphins a year ago and started 14 games in his only season with them. He started 16 games in 2019 for Washington under that team’s previous coaching regime.
In other NFL moves:
— The Buffalo Bills signed offensive lineman Ike Boettger to a one-year contract a little over a month after retaining the rights to the third-year player. Boettger was a restricted free agent who had seven starts at left guard last season
—Former NFL linebacker and Florida State star Geno Hayes has died. His death was confirmed by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He suffered from liver disease and had been in hospice care at his parents’ home in Valdosta, Georgia. Hayes spent four seasons with the Bucs, who drafted him in the sixth round of the 2008 draft. He then played one year with Chicago and two with Jacksonville. Geno Hayes was 33 years old.
NHL reaches 7-year deal with Turner Sports, ending NBC run
UNDATED (AP) — The National Hockey League is coming to TNT.
The league and Turner Sports announced a seven-year agreement that begins next season. It includes three Stanley Cup Finals, up to 72 regular-season games, half of the first- and second-round playoff games on TNT and TBS as well as a conference final series.
The deal means NBC’s run of covering the league ends after after this season’s playoffs. NBC has broadcast games since 2005 and is in the final season of a 10-year contract.
When the Stanley Cup Finals are shown on Turner in 2023, it will mark the first time since 1994 they will be only on cable.
COLLEGE BASKETBALL-WEST VIRGINIA-CULVER
WVU’s Derek Culver signs with agent, will enter NBA draft
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) — West Virginia forward Derek Culver has decided to skip his senior season to enter the NBA draft. Culver announced Monday night that he has signed with an agent.
Culver was named to the all-Big 12 first team as a junior. He was second on the Mountaineers with a scoring average of 14.3 and led the Big 12 with 9.4 rebounds per game. He had 11 double-doubles this past season.
West Virginia’s roster has seen an extensive makeover since the Mountaineers lost to Syracuse in the second round of the NCAA Tournament to finish the season 19-10. Coach Bob Huggins this month announced the signings of three graduate transfers.
Geno Hayes, former NFL, Florida State linebacker, dies at 33
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Former NFL linebacker and Florida State star Geno Hayes has died. His death was confirmed by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He suffered from liver disease and had been in hospice care.
Hayes spent four seasons with the Bucs, who drafted him in the sixth round of the 2008 draft. He then played one year with Chicago and two with Jacksonville.
Geno Hayes was 33 years old.
Wimbledon Middle Sunday play in ’22; fans, money TBD in ’21
LONDON (AP) — The All England Club says there will be play on Wimbledon’s middle Sunday starting in 2022. That is a significant break in tradition for the grass-court Grand Slam tournament. There only has been play on the middle Sunday in the past when rain created a backlog of matches.
Wimbledon returns in 2021 after it was called off last year because of the coronavirus pandemic. The club says it received about $250 million in cancellation insurance.
Some aspects of the 2021 tournament are still to be determined. That includes the number of spectators and prize money.
KENTUCKY DERBY DRAW
Favorite gets post 14 in Saturday’s Kentucky Derby
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Essential Quality is the 2-1 morning line favorite and will start from the No. 14 post for the 147th Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on Saturday.
The $3 million, 1-1/4 mile race for 3-year-colts is back on the first Saturday of May after being delayed to Labor Day weekend last year because of the pandemic.
Rock Your World is the 5-1 second choice from the No. 15 slot, with Known Agenda third at 6-1 despite drawing the rail in the 20-horse field. Hot Rod Charlie drew 8-1 odds as the fourth choice from the No. 9 post.