Friday Sports in Brief – Washington Times


BASEBALL

COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. (AP) – Baseball’s Hall of Fame has canceled its traditional outdoor induction ceremony for the second straight summer because of the pandemic. It is planning an indoor, televised event for Derek Jeter and others being honored.

Jeter, Larry Walker, Ted Simmons and late players’ association executive director Marvin Miller were to have been inducted last summer, but the pandemic caused the ceremony to be called off for the first time since 1960.

A crowd of about 55,000 attended the 2019 ceremony for the inductions of Mariano Rivera, Edgar Martinez, Roy Halladay, Mike Mussina, Lee Smith and Harold Baines.

This year’s ceremony remains scheduled for July 25 but will look different. No new inductees were chosen for this year’s class.

Hall of Fame chair Jane Forbes Clark cited the “continuing uncertainties” of COVID-19 in making the change. She said the new format will adhere to “required New York State guidelines.”

NEW YORK (AP) – Major League Baseball revamped its spring training exhibition schedule because of the pandemic, cutting travel for Florida-based teams in an effort to minimize coronavirus risks.

College baseball teams, which often play big league clubs but are not subject to major league testing protocols, were dropped from the revised schedules announced Friday.

Split-squad games, traditionally used in the first half of the exhibition season to allow evaluation of more players, also were eliminated.

Florida-based teams may decide to dress at their own ballparks and travel in uniform for road exhibitions to increase distancing while putting on uniforms. Arizona-based teams traditionally dress at home and take batting practice at home, then travel for road exhibitions.

Pitchers and catchers open spring training workouts Wednesday, and the exhibition season starts Feb. 28, two days later than initially announced on Sept. 16.

The regular season remains on track to start April 1 after the Major League Baseball Players Association rejected the clubs’ proposal to delay opening day until April 22 and cut each team’s schedule from 162 games to 154. The rejected plan would have pushed back the start of spring training until March 22.

FOOTBALL

CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) – Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence worked out for several NFL coaches and executives, including new Jacksonville Jaguars coach Urban Meyer.

Lawrence is expected to go to Jacksonville with the No. 1 overall pick in April’s NFL draft.

Lawrence had planned to throw on Clemson’s Pro Day on March 11, but he moved up his workout when he learned he needed surgery on his left, non-throwing shoulder. Lawrence said doctors have told him he should be able to throw within six to eight weeks of surgery.

Along with Meyer, Jacksonville offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell and passing game coordinator Brian Schottenheimer were in attendance.

New Atlanta coach Arthur Smith and New York Jets general manager Joe Douglas also were on hand for Lawrence’s session.

Lawrence threw about 40 passes, moving from short swing patterns to red-zone tosses before finishing with several throws between 50 and 60 yards.

“I was pretty pleased with it,” Lawrence said. “Like anything, there are a few throws you want back. But overall it was a good day.”

Lawrence had a stellar career for the Tigers, deciding to jump to the NFL after three seasons. He was 34-2 as a Clemson starter, leading the team to three Atlantic Coast Conference titles and the 2018 national championship.

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) – New York Jets coach Robert Saleh has added Steve Scarnecchia, who has ties to two NFL videotaping scandals, to his staff.

Scarnecchia is listed on the team’s website among the coaching personnel as chief of staff. He spent the last six seasons in Atlanta as Dan Quinn’s assistant head coach.

The New York Post first reported Scarnecchia’s hiring by the Jets.

Scarnecchia was fired by Denver in 2010 after an NFL investigation determined the team’s video operations director illegally filmed a San Francisco 49ers walkthrough practice in London and presented it to then-coach Josh McDaniels. The league fined the Broncos and McDaniels $50,000 each for not promptly reporting Scarnecchia’s actions.

Scarnecchia was considered by the NFL a repeat offender because he also had ties to New England’s “Spygate” scandal, during which the Patriots were caught videotaping Jets coaches’ signals in 2007. Scarnecchia was working for New York at the time, but New England was found to have also been illegally videotaping opponents’ defense signals in the early 2000s – when Scarnecchia was a video assistant for the Patriots.

New England and coach Bill Belichick were each fined $500,000 by the league and had a first-round draft pick taken away.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) – A three-week hiatus did little to diminish Michigan’s impressive resume: The Wolverines are still on top of the Big Ten, and they even moved up four spots in the AP Top 25 poll while idle.

The big question now is how they will look when they return to the court this weekend – and whether coach Juwan Howard’s team can find a groove again after such an unusual layoff.

“We trust as a staff that come Sunday we’ll be ready to play,” Howard said Friday. “I don’t know what it’s going to look like, but from start to finish we’re going to give our best effort.”

Michigan hasn’t played since a Jan. 22 win at Purdue. A day after that, the school announced it was pausing its whole athletic department after positive tests for a new COVID-19 variant that transmits at a higher rate. Since then, the Wolverines have missed five games.

No. 3 Michigan is finally set to return Sunday at No. 21 Wisconsin.

If the Wolverines (13-1, 8-1) play the way they did before the layoff, it will be tough for anyone in the Big Ten to catch them. Michigan has already beaten Minnesota by 25, Wisconsin by 23 and Maryland by 24. But those games were a while ago, and there’s no telling how much this lengthy break affected the Wolverines.

“It’s mainly chemistry,” forward Isaiah Livers said. “Being off for a week and a half, two weeks, not playing together, it’s really going to affect timing.”

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