Kelly suspended, will continue to play pending appeal
NEW YORK (AP) — Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Joe Kelly has been suspended eight games by Major League Baseball for throwing a fastball near the head of Houston’s Alex Bregman and mockingly taunting Astros star Carlos Correa. Benches cleared after Kelly’s actions during Los Angeles’ 5-2 win at Minute Maid Park.
The game marked the first time the teams had met since it was revealed Houston stole signs en route to a 2017 World Series title over the Dodgers. LA manager Dave Roberts was suspended one game and Astros manager Dusty Baker was fined.
Kelly elected to appeal and can continue to play. Roberts serves his penalty Wednesday night when the Dodgers play at Houston.
In other MLB news:
— The Miami Marlins have become the talk of baseball while coping with a coronavirus outbreak that forced MLB to suspend their season through at least Sunday. Thanks to a 2-1 record, this is the latest the Marlins have ever been in first place. The question isn’t whether they’ll make the playoffs, however, but whether they’ll play another game. For starters, will other teams be willing to play them? Washington Nationals players voted almost unanimously against making a trip to Miami for three games this weekend, before MLB called off the series.
— Philadelphia Phillies general manager Matt Klentak says one team employee who works in the visiting clubhouse has tested positive for the coronavirus. But he says all Phillies players and on-field staff tested negative for a second straight day. The Phillies’ four-game, home-and-home series against the New York Yankees was postponed this week following a coronavirus outbreak among the Miami Marlins, who played in Philadelphia last weekend. The Phillies are scheduled to host Toronto this weekend in a series that was supposed to be on the road but switched because the Blue Jays’ temporary ballpark in Buffalo isn’t ready. The teams won’t play Friday and instead will have a doubleheader on Saturday.
— Washington Nationals outfielder Juan Soto was still waiting on Wednesday to be cleared to play by the city government after getting the OK from Major League Baseball to return from the COVID-19 injured list. Manager Dave Martinez said the Nationals hope their 21-year-old slugger will be allowed to work out with the team starting Saturday and play in their first game after that — which is next Tuesday at home against the New York Mets.
— The Nationals’ starting lineup lost another middle-of-the-order hitter when Howie Kendrick was scratched three hours before the scheduled first pitch against Toronto on Wednesday because of upper back stiffness. But the teams said Kendrick was available to pinch hit.
— The Cleveland Indians placed starting catcher Roberto Pérez on the 10-day injured list with a sore throwing shoulder. Pérez hurt his right shoulder while making an off-balance throw in Friday’s season opener. He scrambled to retrieve a third strike that got past him and slipped while firing the ball to first. A Gold Glove winner in 2019, Pérez has played since but the shoulder has continued to bother him, so the Indians will shut him down for at least one week. Manager Terry Francona says Pérez will be reexamined after seven days of not throwing.
— St. Louis Cardinals right-hander Miles Mikolas (MY’-koh-las) will have season-ending surgery to repair a tendon in his strained right forearm. The 31-year-old missed spring training with the injury, but he ramped up his activity after the virus shutdown and pitched four innings for the Cardinals in an exhibition game last week. He was supposed to start Wednesday night at Minnesota. Right-hander Daniel Ponce de Leon will take the mound against the Twins instead.
— Nick Markakis (mahr-KAY’-kihs) is returning to the Atlanta Braves, three weeks after announcing he was opting out of the season due to his concerns about the coronavirus pandemic. The veteran outfielder said Wednesday he changed his mind about sitting out after watching his teammates play the first five games. The 36-year-old Markakis says he has the full support of his family, including his three children, in his decision to return.
Davis, Williamson ready for re-opening night
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP) — Anthony Davis and Zion Williamson are ready for re-opening night. Davis practiced Wednesday for the first time since getting poked in an eye during the Los Angeles Lakers’ scrimmage opener last week. He said the plan is for him to play when the Lakers face the Los Angeles Clippers in the first seeding game for both teams on Thursday. The Pelicans said Williamson will be a game-time decision for New Orleans’ Thursday opener against Utah. Williamson missed nearly two weeks because he left for a family emergency and then had to quarantine for four days upon his return.
Elsewhere around the NBA:
— Hornets owner and six-time NBA champion Michael Jordan has started sharing details of where some of his $100 million pledge to the Black community will be allocated. Jordan and Jordan Brand announced that $1 million each will go toward the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund and to Formerly Incarcerated & Convicted People and Families Movement (FICPFM). Another $500,000 will go to the Black Voters Matter. Jordan made a $100 million pledge to the Black community back in June. He said the money is will go for social justice, economic justice and education and awareness.
Bears’ QB battle between Trubisky, Foles about to heat up
UNDATED (AP) — — The Chicago Bears declared the quarterback competition between Mitchell Trubisky and former Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles an open one during the offseason. It’s about to click into gear, though it won’t play out quite the way they envisioned. With no preseason games, more emphasis will be placed on the reads they make in practice.
Coach Matt Nagy said they will be evaluated “with every single play” in practice.
The Bears and every other team around the NFL stare at a season like no other because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Veterans started reporting to camps this week. Teams won’t be in pads until the week of Aug. 17.
In other NFL news:
— The Miami Dolphins say rookie quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (TOO’-ah tuhng-ah-vy-LOH’-ah) passed his physical when he reported to training camp and will practice without restrictions as he begins his bid to overtake veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick for the starting job. The all-clear will allow Tagovailoa to practice for the first time since a career-threatening hip injury ended his Alabama career in mid-November.
— Running back Damien Williams, whose strong postseason helped Kansas City to its first Super Bowl championship in 50 years, is opting out of playing the upcoming season.
—The Atlanta Falcons have placed fullback Keith Smith and safety Jamal Carter on the team’s reserve/COVID-19 list.
—The Philadelphia Eagles have placed three-time Pro Bowl right tackle Lane Johnson, linebacker Nathan Gerry, and tackle Jordan Mailata on the Reserve/COVID-19 list.
— New York Giants left tackle Nate Solder has opted out of the 2020 NFL season because of the coronavirus pandemic citing his son’s ongoing fight with cancer, the recent birth of a baby boy and his own history with cancer.
— Browns Guard Drew Forbes and tackle Drake Dorbeck are the first two Cleveland Browns players who have chosen to opt out for the 2020 NFL season because of the coronavirus.
— Seattle Seahawks star linebacker Bobby Wagner was thrilled by the addition of Jamal Adams. Wagner isn’t concerned that Seattle gave up two first-round picks to get the 24-year-old All-Pro safety from the New York Jets. He just knows his job likely got easier. Wagner says he’s always admired Adams’ game from afar and that his presence adds another playmaker on the field.
— General manager John Lynch has agreed to a new five-year contract with the San Francisco 49ers that will keep him locked up through the 2024 season. The new deal for Lynch comes about six weeks after coach Kyle Shanahan replaced his original six-year deal signed in 2017 with a new six-year contract that takes him through 2025. Lynch was named executive of the year last season by the Pro Football Writers Association of America for helping the Niners reach the Super Bowl last season. Lynch and Shanahan took over following a 2-14 campaign under general manager Trent Baalke and coach Chip Kelly.
PGA-US OPEN-NO FANS
US Open without qualifying now will be played without fans
UNDATED (AP) — Add another layer to what already is a different U.S. Open. The USGA says no fans will be allowed at Winged Foot in New York Sept. 17-20 because of health and safety concerns about COVID-19.
The U.S. Open already has been moved from its traditional Father’s Day finish, and because of the pandemic, more than 100 qualifiers had to be scrapped for an all-exempt field. Now it comes down to the Masters in November to see if any of golf’s majors will have fans. The PGA Championship next week will be spectator-free.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-COLLEGE SPORTS
Big West Conference postpones fall sports
UNDATED (AP) — The Big West Conference is postponing all fall sports through the end of the calendar year.
The conference’s board of directors said that men’s and women’s cross country, men’s and women’s soccer and women’s volleyball will be postponed as well as the fall schedules for men’s and women’s golf along with men’s and women’s tennis.
The conference will determine later if conducting fall sports in the spring would be feasible. The decision does not impact basketball, which is scheduled to begin on Nov. 10.
The Division I conference has 11 members, with all but one based in California.
In other news related to the COVID-19 pandemic:
— Notre Dame will play in the Atlantic Coast Conference this season as part of a plan to play 10 league games and start the week of Sept. 7, alterations brought on by the pandemic. The ACC’s university presidents approved the plan for an 11-game schedule, including on nonconference game, and for pushing back the league championship game from Dec. 5 to either Dec. 12 or 19. Notre Dame will play in a football conference for the first time in the 133-year history of the program if the season is played.
— The University of Texas is now exploring how it can host football games at 25% percent stadium capacity instead of the previously announced 50% as the return to campus and the planned start of the season rapidly approaches. Texas officials had told season ticket holders earlier this month they were planning for 50 percent capacity catching Austin’s health authority off guard. That would include nearly 50,000 fans. Texas is scheduled to host South Florida on Sept. 5 and the Big 12 has held out hope it can play a 12-game regular season. The state of Texas has seen record numbers of new coronavirus cases, hospitalizations and deaths in the month of July.
— Athletic director Greg Byrne says the University of Alabama has taken cost-cutting measures for each department and sport with the coronavirus threatening fall sports. In a letter to fans posted Wednesday on the Crimson Tide’s website, Byrne says the athletic department placed a freeze on hiring for non-coaching jobs because of potential revenue shortfalls during the COVID-19 pandemic. He says Alabama also is finding ways to save on energy and facility operating costs and is reviewing other steps. The Southeastern Conference hasn’t announced plans for fall sports, including football, which could ultimately mean a limited number of fans at Bryant-Denny Stadium.
Blackhawks ban Native American headdresses at home games
CHICAGO (AP) — The Chicago Blackhawks are banning headdresses at home games as part of their pledge to honor the Native American community.
The NHL team says it consulted with Native American partners to establish new policies and initiatives. The Blackhawks will further integrate Native American culture and storytelling into game presentation and community involvement. The team said earlier this month it will continue to use the Blackhawks name because it honors a Native American leader who has been an inspiration to generations.
Washington’s NFL team dropped the name Redskins, and Major League Baseball’s Cleveland Indians are considering a change.
WOMEN’S SOCCER-EQUAL PAY
US women’s soccer told to wait until 2021 for jury trial
LOS ANGELES (AP) — If American women’s soccer players want a jury trial on their claim of discriminatory working conditions, they must wait until next year.
U.S. District Judge R. Gary Klausner told the players and the U.S. Soccer Federation on Wednesday that jurors were not available during the coronavirus pandemic. He informed the sides if they wanted to stick with their Sept. 15 trial date, they would have to agree by Aug. 6 to a bench trial in which he would decide the verdict.
If they want a jury trial, he would postpone the start until Jan. 26. Players sued in March 2019 under the Equal Pay Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and they sought more than $66 million in damages.
Former Illinois, New Mexico St coach Lou Henson dies at 88
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) — Lou Henson, the basketball coach who led Illinois back into the national spotlight, has died at age 88. The school says Henson died Saturday and was buried on Wednesday.
In 21 seasons at Illinois, Henson won a school-record 423 games and took his 1989 Illini team to the Final Four. In all, he was 779-412 and the winningest coach at both Illinois and New Mexico State. Henson was named to the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame in 2015.
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