Update on the latest sportsAP
Ross sharp, Zimmerman homers as Nationals blank Cardinals
UNDATED (AP) — Joe Ross pitched six sharp innings and the Washington Nationals threw their first regular-season shutout at Busch Stadium, blanking the St. Louis Cardinals 6-0.
Ross improved to 3-0 in four career starts against the Cardinals. He allowed four hits, struck out five and walked one. He also singled and scored a run. Four relievers combined to hold St. Louis hitless the rest of the way.
The Nationals, who started play in Washington in 2005, had pitched a shutout at St. Louis in the 2019 NL Championship Series opener, but never in the regular season. Ryan Zimmerman hit his first homer of the season, a two-run drive off Adam Wainwright.
Elsewhere in the majors:
— Bo Bichette homered twice, including a game-ending drive leading off the ninth inning that lifted the Toronto Blue Jays over the New York Yankees 5-4. Bichette drove a pitch from Chad Green the opposite way to right-center field as Toronto took two of three. Alejandro Kirk also homered for the Blue Jays. Aaron Judge hit two home runs for the Yankees. Toronto went 3-3 with one rainout in its first regular-season homestand at TD Ballpark, its spring training home.
Twins shortstop Simmons out after positive COVID-19 test
UNDATED (AP) — Minnesota Twins shortstop Andrelton Simmons has tested positive for COVID-19. He was placed on the COVID-19 injured list before Wednesday’s doubleheader against the Red Sox. Simmons has said he doesn’t plan to get the vaccine, which was made available to the team in a single-shot dosage last week. Twins executive Derek Falvey says Simmons is experiencing “very mild” symptoms and resting at his home.
The positive test result was received late Tuesday after the Twins played the Red Sox. Simmons was replaced by infielder J.T. Riddle, who was on the taxi squad.
In other MLB news:
— Atlanta Braves left-hander Max Fried has been placed on the 10-day injured list with a strained right hamstring after injuring himself while running the bases. Fried is off to a rocky start coming off a stellar 2020 season. Now he’s sidelined by a fluke injury in Tuesday night’s loss to the Miami Marlins. Fried tweaked his hamstring running from second to third on a wild pitch. The Braves also placed rookie outfielder Cristian Pache on the injured list with a strained left groin. Left-hander Tucker Davidson and outfielder Guillermo Heredia were called up from the alternate-training site to fill the openings.
— Toronto Blue Jays closer Julian Merryweather has been placed on the 10-day injured list with a strained left oblique. The right-hander felt discomfort in the left side of his abdomen on his final warmup pitch in the eighth inning of Tuesday night’s 7-3 victory over the Yankees. Merryweather entered with two runners on and two outs and threw just two pitches to Aaron Hicks before Gary Sánchez was tagged out in a rundown between first and second base after a pitch in the dirt. He didn’t return for the ninth.
— Cincinnati right-hander Sonny Gray is set to make his first start of the season Saturday at Cleveland, a welcome boost for a Reds staff that’s struggled at times. Gray began spring training as the Reds’ possible opening day starter. But the 31-year-old experienced back spasms, made just one Cactus League start and opened the regular season on the 10-day injured list. The two-time All-Star has a 75-63 record and a 3.54 ERA in eight seasons, including 5-3 with a 3.70 ERA last year.
Radulov done, Bishop won’t play at all for Stars this season
UNDATED (AP) — High-scoring forward Alexander Radulov won’t return this season for the Dallas Stars. And goaltender Ben Bishop won’t play at all.
General manager Jim Nill says Radulov needs surgery to repair a core muscle injury after playing only 11 games this season. Bishop hasn’t played while rehabbing from twice having knee surgery last year. Nill says the goalie won’t try to play this season. Both players are expected to be healthy for next season.
Dallas also signed defenseman Joel Hanley to a two-year contract extension.
In other NHL news:
— Buffalo Sabres captain Jack Eichel (EYE’-kul) will miss the rest of the season with a herniated disc in his neck. The team says he is expected to be healthy for the start of next season. The 24-year-old center hasn’t played since March 7. Eichel had 18 points in 21 games before coming out of Buffalo’s lineup. The Sabres have lost 32 of 42 games this season and are in last place in the NHL. They’ve won four of their eight games since Don Granato took over for fired coach Ralph Krueger.
NFL’s revised offseason program includes mandatory minicamp
UNDATED (AP) — The NFL’s revised offseason program still includes a post-draft rookie minicamp, voluntary workouts and a mandatory minicamp next month despite the union’s objection to in-person activities due to COVID-19 concerns.
A memo obtained by The Associated Press that was sent to teams on Wednesday outlined several changes to the offseason schedule that was agreed upon under the collective bargaining agreement last year. The league says its altered offseason program complies with its rights under the CBA and follows the COVID-19 protocols agreed upon last season.
A person familiar with the numbers, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation, said 400 players have been using their teams’ facilities this offseason. The league says team facilities are safer than other workout locations. Players are protected against lost wages if they sustain an injury at a team’s facility. They don’t have the same protection if they’re injured working out anywhere else.
In other NFL news:
— Free agent defensive end Jadeveon Clowney has signed a one-year, $10 million contact with the Cleveland Browns. They’ll pair him with All-Pro Myles Garrett to chase quarterbacks to try to get them deeper in the playoffs. The No. 1 overall pick in 2014, Clowney hasn’t always played up to his reputation. He’s also dealt with numerous injuries. Clowney visited the team today for the second time in recent weeks. The sides agreed to a deal after he completed a medical exam.
— The New York Giants have waived cornerback Ryan Lewis. The team announced the move Wednesday, a little more than two weeks before the draft. The Giants added cornerback Adoree Jackson in free agency. They have 14 defensive back on the roster, including James Bradberry, Darnay Holmes, Julian Love, Logan Ryan, Jabrill Peppers and Xavier McKinney. Lewis was signed to the practice squad right before the start of the 2020 season. He played in five games with three starts before being placed on injured reserve on Nov. 6. He had 13 tackles and one pass breakup.
— A lawyer has told Pittsburgh police that Los Angeles Rams player Aaron Donald and others assaulted his 26-year-old client at a nightclub last weekend, causing multiple injuries. Attorney Todd Hollis said Wednesday that De’Vincent Spriggs required 16 stitches. Spriggs suffered a broken orbital bone in his head, a broken nose and a sprained or broken arm at a bar around 3 a.m. Sunday. Hollis says a misunderstanding that Spriggs bumped into Donald precipitated the alleged assault. Hollis released a photo that showed Spriggs with facial injuries and swelling. Donald played college football at the University of Pittsburgh. The Rams said they were looking into the matter.
Louisville’s Johnson to enter NBA draft, forego eligibility
UNDATED (AP) — Louisville guard David Johnson will enter the NBA draft and forego his final two seasons of eligibility after being one of the Cardinals’ most productive players the past two years.
The 6-foot-5 Louisville native averaged 12.6 points, 5.8 rebounds and 3.2 assists in 19 games and was an All-Atlantic Coast Conference honorable mention. Johnson was the Cardinals’ No. 2 scorer. He made a team-high 32 3-pointers on nearly 39% shooting from behind the arc.
In other college basketball news:
— UConn swingman Tyler Polley has announced plans to take advantage of an extra year of eligibility and return to the school but says he’ll put his name into the NBA draft pool for evaluation purposes. The decision will allow the 3-point specialist to continue exploring his professional options and receive feedback from pro scouts. The 6-foot-9 senior averaged 7.5 points and two rebounds this past season and was named the Big East’s Sixth Man of the Year. Polley joins fellow senior Isaiah Whaley in taking advantage of the NCAA’s offer of an extra season because of hardships related to the coronavirus pandemic.
— South Florida forward Alexis Yetna is headed to Seton Hall as a graduate transfer. The 6-foot-8 Yetna spent the last four years at USF. He averaged 12.3 points and 9.6 rebounds while shooting 54% from the field and 37% from 3-point range as a redshirt freshman in 2018-19. After missing the following season due to injury, Yetna returned to the court this past season and averaged 9.5 points and 7.3 rebounds.
— Arkansas has signed men’s basketball coach Eric Musselman to a new, five-year agreement. The deal runs through April 2026. It includes the potential for a pair of one-year automatic agreement extensions if the Razorbacks receive NCAA Tournament bids “within the timeframe of the agreement.” The new deal was announced a month after Arkansas won 25 games and made its first Elite Eight appearance since 1995.
— Joe Golding has been named the new men’s basketball coach at UTEP. The move comes after a decade at Abilene Christian that included an upset victory for the 14th-seeded Wildcats over No. 3 seed Texas in the first round of this season’s NCAA Tournament. Golding was 158-144 during his 10 seasons as head coach of his Abilene Christian, his alma mater. He oversaw the the Wildcats’ transition from NCAA Division II to Division I. They went to the last two NCAA Tournaments.
AP sources: NCAA dumps requirement that transfers sit a year
UNDATED (AP) — Starting next season, major college football and basketball players will be permitted to transfer one time before graduating without being required to sit out a year of competition, according to two people with knowledge of the decision.
The two people tell The Associated Press that the NCAA Division I Council voted Wednesday to change the longstanding rule that has often deterred players in high-profile sports from switching schools. The people spoke on condition of anonymity because two-day meeting was still in session and the council’s decisions would not become official until it ends Thursday.
The so-called one-time exception has been available to athletes in other NCAA sports for years, allowing them to transfer and play immediately. Athletes in football, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s ice hockey and baseball have not had that available to them without asking the NCAA for a special waiver and claiming a hardship caused the need for a transfer.
Athletes who have graduated have also been permitted to transfer without sitting out, but not undergraduates.
Starting this fall semester, all athletes will be operating under the same rules: Transfers will be allowed to play right away.
WOMEN’S SOCCER-UNEQUAL PAY
US women soccer players appeal decision against equal pay
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Players on the women’s national soccer team have asked a federal appeals court to overturn a lower court decision throwing out their lawsuit seeking equal pay to the men’s team.
Players led by Alex Morgan asked the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to reinstate the part of their suit that federal Judge R. Gary Klausner threw out last May when he granted a partial summary judgment to the U.S. Soccer Federation.
Appeals are assigned to three-judge panels. The 9th Circuit estimates that oral arguments in civil appeals will be scheduled 12 to 20 months from the notice of appeal.