Update on the latest sports
Mariners moving games, Warriors going fanless
UNDATED (AP) — The Golden State Warriors’ game against the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday night will be played without fans in the arena, and the Mariners are moving their home games out of Seattle for the rest of March in an effort to slow the coronavirus outbreak.
San Francisco Mayor London Breed has banned all gatherings of 1,000 or more people for the next two weeks. Shortly after that announcement Wednesday, the Warriors announced they would go ahead with the game, but without fans at Chase Center. Four other events scheduled through March 21 at the building, which seats more than 18,000 people, have been postponed or canceled, including a Post Malone concert.
In Washington state, Gov. Jay Inslee has prohibited gatherings of more than 250 people in the Seattle area, which has experienced the most COVID-19 deaths in the U.S.
The Mariners and Major League Baseball haven’t announced where they will play the team’s season-opening, four-game series against the Texas Rangers that had been scheduled for March 26-29. It was to be followed by three games against the Minnesota Twins from March 30 through April 1. The Mariners say they are working with the commissioner’s office on alternative plans.
NCAA President Mark Emmert says NCAA Division I basketball tournament games will not be open to the general public because of concerns about the spread of coronavirus. Emmert says he made the decision to conduct both the men’s and women’s tournaments with only essential staff and limited family in attendance. The decision comes after the NCAA’s COVID-19 advisory panel recommended against playing sporting events open to the general public. The tournaments begin next week.
Elsewhere, the Ivy League canceled all spring sports, as many of its schools told students not to return from spring break and prepare for classes to be taught online. The conference had already canceled its men’s and women’s basketball tournaments; other conferences went ahead with theirs as college basketball awaits word on the status of the NCAA Tournament, one of the biggest events on the sporting calendar.
NASCAR and IndyCar plan to race as scheduled this weekend, with IndyCar continuing to move ahead with its season-opening race through the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida. The three-day downtown street festival draws about 130,000 people. There will be additional hand-washing and sanitizing stations.
WORLD CUP-RACES CANCELED
Women’s races canceled, Shiffrin denied chance to defend title
ARE, Sweden (AP) — The last races of the women’s Alpine skiing World Cup season have been canceled because of public health concerns related to the spread of the coronavirus.
The decision to call off the three-day event in Sweden hands Federica Brignone (feh-deh-REE’-kah breen-YOH’-nay) of Italy the overall title and denies Mikaela Shiffrin a return to racing this season. Brignone becomes the first Italian women’s overall champion in the 53-year history of the World Cup.
Shiffrin had announced earlier Wednesday that she would compete at the event after taking a six-week break from the sport following the death of her father. The American was last season’s overall champion and still had a chance to defend her title.
Antetokounmpo back in practice
UNDATED (AP) — Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (YAH’-nihs an-teh-toh-KOON’-poh) says he initially feared the knee sprain that has caused him to miss his last two games might be a much more serious injury. But Bucks officials say he underwent an MRI and was diagnosed with a minor joint capsule sprain of the left knee.
The reigning NBA MVP took a hard fall late in a 113-103 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday night. Antetokounmpo said he practiced Wednesday but still isn’t sure whether he will play Thursday against the Boston Celtics.
In other NBA news:
— Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (joh-EHL’ ehm-BEED’) was back in the lineup Wednesday night against Detroit after missing five games with a sprained left shoulder. The Sixers also said guard Ben Simmons will miss at least three more weeks with nerve issues in his lower back. Simmons missed his eighth straight game. He will continue to undergo daily treatment for his nerve impingement and that he is gradually increasing the activities in his strength and conditioning program. The timeline could have Simmons back just in time for the playoffs. Embiid was injured in a Feb. 26 loss at Cleveland when he collided with Ante Zizic.
Dawes leads Clemson past Miami 69-64 in ACC Tournament
GREENSBORO, N.C. (AP) — Al-Amir Dawes scored 18 points, and eighth-seeded Clemson defeated ninth-seeded Miami 69-64 on Wednesday to advance to the quarterfinals of the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament.
Aamir Simms added 14 points and 10 rebounds and John Newman had 11 points for Clemson, which finished 18 of 19 from the free throw line. Five-foot-7 Chris Lykes led Miami with 21 points off the bench including five 3s and DJ Vasiljevic added 17.
T25 MEN’S BASKETBALL-CREIGHTON-ZEGAROWSKI
No. 7 Creighton hoping Zegarowski ready for NCAA Tournament
OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Creighton’s Marcus Zegarowski was scheduled to have knee surgery Wednesday and the Bluejays hope to have him available for the NCAA Tournament next week.
Zegarowski injured the meniscus in his right knee late in the seventh-ranked Bluejays’ game against Seton Hall on Saturday. An MRI revealed the injury Monday.
Creighton’s next game is Thursday against St. John’s or Georgetown in the Big East Tournament in New York.
Zegarowski has started 30 of 31 games and is second on the team in scoring at 16.1 points per game. He’s third in the Big East in 3-point shooting at 42.4%. He was named to the All-Big East second team.
3 former track athletes suing NCAA, coach over alleged abuse
ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — Three former student-athletes who say they were sexually abused by a track coach are suing the NCAA, its board of governors and a coach. They allege the NCAA didn’t do enough to protect its athletes. Erin Aldrich, Londa Bevins and Jessica Johnson are seeking class action status for the federal lawsuit filed Wednesday in California. The women say they were sexually abused by John Rembao while he worked at the University of Texas and the University of Arizona. They want the suit to include any NCAA student-athlete at any member school since 1992 who say they were put at risk by the inaction of the NCAA.
Yanks’ Britton hit by line drive, has bruised right wrist
UNDATED (AP) — New York Yankees reliever Zack Britton has a bruised right wrist after getting hit by a line drive during a simulated game Wednesday. The Yankees said X-rays and a CT scan were both negative.
Britton was pitching in his second inning when he got hurt on the drive off the bat of Erik Kratz. The 32-year-old left-hander walked to shallow left field while holding his wrist. He kept his right arm still and appeared to be in pain while walking off the field with athletic trainer Gene Monahan.
Up until that point, it had been a good day on the injury front for the Yankees. Giancarlo Stanton faced pitching for the first time since straining his right calf on Feb. 26 and hit an opposite-field homer to right off Britton. Stanton is expected to be sidelined until April.
Left-hander James Paxton resumed a throwing program in his rehabilitation from Feb. 5 back surgery and said he felt great and had no pain. He made 25 throws at 60 feet. Paxton said his best-case scenario is for a mid-May return.
In other MLB news:
— St. Louis first baseman Paul Goldschmidt will be out for several more games because of a sore right elbow. Goldschmidt’s throwing was limited by the Cardinals during the start of spring training, and he made his first two exhibition starts as a designated hitter. He has not played since Sunday. The six-time All-Star and four-time Gold Glove winner is hitting .300 with two homers in 20 spring training at-bats.
— New York Mets outfielder Michael Conforto would not speculate whether he could return for the March 26 opener against Washington due to an oblique strain. Conforto was injured Saturday against the Nationals and returned to New York on Monday night. The 27-year-old outfielder got hurt when he lost a fly ball to right in the sun and felt a tug in his right side after a late sudden move to catch the ball. His right side tightened up on him later in the game.
— The Texas Rangers have placed left-hander Yohander Méndez on the suspended list for violating his contract by seeking unauthorized outside medical care. President of Baseball Operations Jon Daniels announced the move Wednesday prior to a spring training game against the San Francisco Giants. Méndez has been held out of spring training game action with left shoulder inflammation. The 25-year-old Méndez appeared in just three big league games last year due to an elbow injury. He was expected to compete for a bullpen spot this spring.
NHL-NEWS-BLUE JACKETS, NO TO FANS
Blue Jackets to play in nearly empty arena
DENVER (AP) — The Columbus Blue Jackets are the first National Hockey League team to say they’ll hold home games without fans in the stands. The Blue Jackets announced that their game Thursday night against the Pittsburgh Penguins would be limited to “home and visiting club personnel, credentialed media and broadcast partners, essential club and arena staff and NHL officials.” The decision comes in response to Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine’s announcement that he is issuing an order regarding “mass gatherings,” include a ban on spectators at sports events.
Elsewhere in the NHL:
—The Colorado Avalanche will be without top scorer Nathan MacKinnon for at least a week after he suffered a lower body injury. MacKinnon was hurt during the second period in Los Angeles against the Kings on Monday. It’s the latest blow to an injury-plagued Avalanche team that’s trying to catch St. Louis for the top seed in the Western Conference.The Avalanche are missing six other players. They will have defenseman Cale Makar back in the lineup when they face the New York Rangers on Wednesday night. Makar has been out the last five games with an upper body injury. He’s second among rookies with 47 points.
2-time Pro Bowler Reshad Jones to be released by Dolphins
UNDATED (AP) — Two-time Pro Bowl safety Reshad Jones is joining the free agent market after 10 seasons with the Miami Dolphins.
The team has decided to release Jones next Wednesday, the first day of NFL free agency. The move had been expected because Jones battled injuries in recent seasons and played in just four games in 2019 for new coach Brian Flores.
With Jones’ departure, six-year veteran reserve safety Walt Aikens leads the Dolphins in seniority. The move leaves Bobby McCain and Eric Rowe as the Dolphins’ first-team safeties, but they’re expected to be busy in free agency.
Jones started 113 games for the Dolphins and made the Pro Bowl in 2015 and 2017. He was their highest-paid player last year at $15 million.
In other NFL news:
— Marshal Yanda retired from the NFL on Wednesday with the satisfaction of knowing he walked away before being kicked out the door. Yanda played his entire 13-year career with the Baltimore Ravens, who showed their appreciation for the eight-time Pro Bowl guard by sending him off with a framed No. 73 jersey and heartfelt thanks during a news conference. The ceremony began with a video tribute and was highlighted by a lengthy prepared speech from the guest of honor, a man known for keeping his sentences short and for his aversion to talking to the media. Yanda said he “loved that every single day.”
GOLD-HALL OF FAME
Tiger Woods elected to the World Golf Hall of Fame
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Already among the greatest on the golf course, Tiger Woods will join them in the World Golf Hall of Fame. Woods was elected Wednesday by a Hall of Fame selection committee. He will be part of the 2021 class that will be inducted next year at the home of the PGA Tour. The Hall of Fame criteria was changed recently to lower the minimum age to 45 when players are inducted. The selection was hardly a surprise. No one has more than his 82 PGA Tour victories, and his 15 majors are second only to Jack Nicklaus.