Update on the latest sportsAP
Braves and Giants open a series in San Francisco
UNDATED (AP) — The Atlanta Braves begin a three-game series against the San Francisco Giants Friday night in a matchup of NL division leaders.
Ian Anderson pitches for Atlanta in the opener of a 10-game trip that concludes with a big three-game set at San Diego. Logan Webb goes for his third straight win for San Francisco.
The Braves are looking to hold off Philadelphia in the NL East, and the major league-leading Giants are being pushed by the World Series champion Dodgers in the West. The teams also played in August, with the Braves taking two of three in Atlanta.
In other highlights of Friday’s schedule:
— Corey Kluber (KLOO’-bur), who twice won the AL Cy Young Award during his nine seasons with Cleveland, pitches against the Indians for the first time. Kluber takes on former teammate José Ramírez and a few other familiar faces when he starts for New York at Yankee Stadium. Zach Plesac (PLEE’-sak) starts for Cleveland. The Yankees begin the day a half-game behind AL wild card co-leaders Toronto and Boston. Kluber was 98-58 and a three-time All-Star with the Indians before being traded away as part of the team’s roster overhaul. The 35-year-old righty pitched one game for Texas last season and then joined the Yankees.
— Two-way star Shohei Ohtani (SHOH’-hay oh-TAH’-nee) won’t pitch Friday night for the Los Angeles Angels because of a sore right arm that could sideline him as a pitcher for the rest of the season. Ohtani hasn’t pitched since Sept. 10, when he was tagged for six runs on nine hits in 3 1/3 innings in a loss at Houston. He felt soreness while playing catch Wednesday. The arm discomfort won’t prevent him from continuing to hit. Ohtani is third in the major leagues with 44 home runs.
— Longtime Phillies starter Vince Velasquez makes his first start since signing a minor league deal with the pitching-depleted Padres. Cut by Philadelphia this week, the 29-year-old righty is set to start the series opener at St. Louis in a matchup of NL wild-card contenders. Blake Snell was originally lined up to pitch, but he was put on the injured list with a strained adductor. Padres starter Chris Paddack also is out with elbow inflammation. Velasquez was 3-6 with a 5.95 ERA for the Phillies this year. He was 30-40 for Philadelphia over six seasons.
Browns LB Walker out at least 3 games with hamstring injury
BEREA, Ohio (AP) — Cleveland Browns starting linebacker Anthony Walker Jr. is going on injured reserve with a hamstring issue that will keep him out at least three games.
Walker signed as a free agent in March after four seasons with Indianapolis. He led Cleveland with nine tackles in last week’s loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. He’s also the Browns’ signal caller on defense, so his loss will have a ripple effect.
Cleveland hosts Houston in its home opener Sunday.
IOC urges Olympic teams to ask for Chinese vaccines
LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — Olympic teams have been urged by the IOC to request more Chinese vaccines ahead of the 2022 Beijing Winter Games.
The Games open on Feb. 4 and will be held in the country where the coronavirus outbreak started. The International Olympic Committee first announced a vaccine rollout program with Chinese authorities for athletes and officials in March. Chinese vaccines were bought by the IOC and also made available for delegations heading to the Tokyo Olympics from countries which had approved them for use.
About 100 countries are likely to compete at the Beijing Olympics. Vaccination is encouraged but not mandatory.