Update on the latest sports
Yanks closer Chapman has coronavirus; Astros cancel workout
HOUSTON (AP) — Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman has tested positive for the coronavirus and is experiencing mild symptoms. New York manager Aaron Boone announced the news Saturday. He said Chapman “overall is doing well” but “will not be here for the foreseeable future.”
Chapman threw a bullpen session Tuesday and Boone wouldn’t comment on whether he had been at Yankee Stadium since. Boone said the team had gone through contact tracing protocols, and no other players or personnel would be forced to isolate because of Chapman’s positive test.
New York is also without infielder DJ LeMahieu (leh-MAY’-hyoo) and right-hander Luis Cessa (SEH’-suh) due to the virus. Yankees slugger Aaron Judge was scratched from a simulated game with a stiff neck.
The AL East champion Yankees open the season July 23 at Washington.
In Houston, the Astros canceled their workout Saturday after learning that a staff member could have been exposed to a person outside the organization with the coronavirus. It’s the second time this week the Astros have canceled a workout because of concerns about the pandemic. Houston also scrapped its Monday workout because of delays with testing results due to the holiday weekend, as did some other teams around the majors.
In other MLB news:
— Texas Rangers outfielder Joey Gallo says he doesn’t know if he actually had the coronavirus despite two positive tests, since he never had any symptoms and also had multiple negative tests. Gallo said Saturday that he planned to have a more extensive antibody test to be sure after a finger-prick test didn’t indicate that he had COVID-19. The All-Star slugger missed the first week of the Rangers summer camp after two positive tests that sandwiched a negative result during intake testing.
— Cleveland Indians outfielder Delino DeShields (deh-LY’-noh deh-SHEELDZ’) Jr. worked out with his teammates at training camp for the first time after being sidelined by the COVID-19 virus. DeShields had suffered some “mild symptoms” after testing positive with the virus before the Indians reported to Cleveland for the re-start of training camp last week. DeShields arrived a few days ago, but he was only cleared Saturday after twice testing negative. DeShields is one of 10 outfielders trying to win a spot on the club’s 30-man roster. He batted .249 and stole 24 bases in 118 games for the Rangers last season.
— Yoenis Céspedes (yoh-EHN’-ehs SEHS’-peh-dehs) is sure he’ll be ready to start the pandemic-delayed season with the New York Mets. Out of the lineup for almost two years, the 34-year-old slugger said Saturday he finally is close to fully recovered from a string of injuries to his feet and legs. The Mets open at home July 24 against Atlanta. And with the designated hitter available in the National League this year, Céspedes is a prime candidate for that role during a shortened schedule of 60 games. The two-time All-Star missed last season and most of 2018. He had surgery on both heels and then broke his right ankle in a nasty fall at his Florida ranch.
— Albert Pujols’ 20th season in the majors is about to begin with the Los Angeles Angels. When it does, the 40-year-old slugger is likely to be the oldest player in the big leagues. Although time has chipped away at Pujols’ mountainous talent, he has never believed his advancing age will prevent him from putting up other big numbers on the diamond. His recent years of diminishing overall production have been counterbalanced by still-steady power numbers. They’ve done nothing to hurt his confidence as he heads into this short season with big plans.
Stars’ Polak, Canucks’ Baertschi won’t report to NHL camps
UNDATED (AP) — Edmonton’s Mike Green and Vancouver’s Sven Baertschi are opting out. Dallas defenseman Roman Polak isn’t reporting for now. And Tampa Bay captain Steven Stamkos isn’t reporting at full strength.
Green and Baertschi joined Calgary defenseman Travis Hamonic in choosing not to participate in the resumption of the NHL season. Polak is not on the Stars’ roster for the start of training camp, and a team spokesman said the 34-year-old won’t be attending at this time. Green and Hamonic decided not to play for family reasons.
The Tampa Bay Lightning won’t have captain Steven Stamkos at 100% for the opening of camp because of a lower-body injury, but they’re optimistic he’ll be ready when games get under way in early August.
The Minnesota Wild, who face the Canucks in the qualifying round, have ruled out defenseman Greg Pateryn indefinitely with an upper-body injury.
NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly said Saturday the league will be taking over injury and illness disclosure from teams as a way of protecting player privacy.
LeBron won’t wear social justice message on Lakers jersey
UNDATED (AP) — LeBron James says his thoughts on social justice can’t be contained on the back of a basketball jersey. The Los Angeles Lakers superstar won’t wear one of the NBA-approved social justice messages on the back of his jersey when the NBA resumes competition later this month in the Orlando bubble.
As part of the NBA’s recognition of the nationwide invigoration of the social justice movement sparked by the death of George Floyd, NBA players are allowed to choose from a lengthy list of possible messages for their jerseys during the league’s restart. James is among just a few who declined to choose one of the messages.
In other NBA news:
— Houston Rockets stars James Harden and Russell Westbrook did not travel with the team to Orlando and did not participate in the team’s first practice. Coach Mike D’Antoni didn’t provide a reason for their absence but said he expects both players to join the team in Florida soon. Houston’s first game is July 31 against the Dallas Mavericks.
— San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich says he had some reservations about being at the NBA restart at the Disney complex near Orlando, Florida. But after talks with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and others, he decided it would be smart and safe to be with the Spurs for the resumption of the season. Popovich says it’s about more than basketball. He points to how the league can help make changes in society by raising awareness to social causes and a need to combat racism. Meanwhile, Popovich, who is also the U.S. men’s basketball coach, says he is watching how Japan is handling the coronavirus. The NBA plans to start next season in December, which could complicate Olympic availability for players. It’s not clear if the playoffs would be finished before the Olympics would begin on July 23, 2021.
Thomas keeps clean card for 2-shot lead at Muirfield Village
DUBLIN, Ohio (AP) — Justin Thomas went from a three-shot deficit to a two-shot lead in the Workday Charity Open. Thomas had a third consecutive round without bogeys, this one a 66. He made birdies early to keep pace with Collin Morikawa. When Morikawa fell back, Thomas added three birdies to hold off Viktor Hovland. The Norwegian star also had a 66.
The final round is a glimpse of golf’s next generation. All three will be in the final group because of an early start to avoid storms. The round needs to finish Sunday to have a day to get ready for the Memorial.
PAC-12 shifts to conference-only
UNDATED (AP) — The Pac-12 has become the second major conference to shift to a conference-only fall schedule amid growing concerns over the coronavirus pandemic. The decision covers football, women’s and women’s soccer and women’s volleyball. Conference-only schedules will be announced no later than July 31.
The announcement came a day after the Big Ten opted to eliminate nonconference games for all fall sports. The Atlantic Coast, Big 12 and Southeastern conferences are still weighing options for fall sports.
In other developments related to the COVID-19 pandemic:
— Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott has tested positive for COVID-19. The 55-year-old tested positive late this week after experiencing flu-like symptoms and is self-quarantining at the direction of his doctor, according to a statement by the conference. Scott is continuing to carry on his duties as commissioner remotely.
— San Antonio coach Gregg
— The Indy Eleven has resumed its United Soccer League season with fans inside Lucas Oil Stadium, a home they share with the NFL’s Indianapolis Colts. The retractable roof was supposed to be open, but late afternoon storms forced team officials to keep it closed. Before entering, fans were required to undergo temperature checks and go through contactless security checkpoints. They also were required to wear face coverings.
— Scott Dixon earned his third straight victory Saturday with an improbable triumph in the opening race of a weekend doubleheader at Road America, as IndyCar welcomed fans to its races for the first time this season. Dixon has won each of the three IndyCar races to take place thus far during this pandemic-delayed season. He’s the first IndyCar driver to start a season with at least three consecutive victories since Sebastien Bourdais reeled off four straight to start the 2006 campaign.
— The NHRA has resumed its season in front of fans at Lucas Oil Raceway in Indianapolis. Tommy Johnson Jr. topped Funny Car qualifying Saturday at the NHRA Nationals in the series’ return from a more than four-month break because of the coronavirus pandemic. Johnson was the winner in the last race before competition was suspended.
HORSE RACING-ART COLLECTOR
Art Collector takes the Blue Grass at Keeneland
LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — Art Collector took a big step toward the Kentucky Derby, pulling away from the filly Swiss Skydiver in the stretch in the Blue Grass at Keeneland for his first graded stakes victory.
The Kentucky-bred son of Bernardini and Distorted Legacy by Distorted Humor started the $600,000, Grade 2 event from the No. 3 post and battled Shivaree and Swiss Skydiver to the far turn. Rushie joined the chase at the final turn, but before Art Collector and Swiss Skydiver separated themselves from the 13-horse field. The two ran side by side before Art Collector took control at the 1/8th pole in the 3½-lengths win.
Art Collector improved to 3-0 this year and has four wins and a second in eight starts. The colt collected 100 points toward the 146th Derby on Sept. 5 at Churchill Downs.