#SportsReport: Nationals' Zimmerman, Ross Opt Out Of 2020 MLB Season | WAMC

#SportsReport: Nationals' Zimmerman, Ross Opt Out Of 2020 MLB Season

Jun 30, 2020

The reigning World Series champion Washington Nationals will be without at least two holdovers from last year's team. Longtime infielder Ryan Zimmerman and pitcher Joe Ross are opting out of playing as Major League Baseball tries to get back amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

General manager Mike Rizzo says the team supports Zimmerman and Ross deciding not to play the 60-game season that's set to start in late July. Zimmerman says his family situation factored into his decision. His mother is at high risk for the coronavirus because of multiple sclerosis, and he has three young children including a newborn. The 35-year-old says the decision doesn't mean he's retiring.

The Nationals aren't the only ones losing players: Arizona Diamondbacks right-hander Mike Leake and Rockies outfielder Ian Desmond have also decided to sit out. Meantime, Mets General Manager Brodie Van Wagenen is optimistic that slugger Yoenis Cespedes will finally be ready to return to baseball this summer, after being sidelined for nearly two years by injuries.

Also, the premier of Ontario says Major League Baseball is close to winning approval to play in Toronto amid the pandemic. Ontario Premier Doug Ford says city, provincial and federal authorities "kind of gave their approval," but the Toronto Blue Jays are waiting for a letter of support from the federal government. He also says Dr. David Williams, Ontario's chief medical officer, requires a few tweaks to the plan. MLB requires an exemption, as anyone entering Canada for nonessential reasons must self-isolate for 14 days, and the U.S.-Canada border remains closed to nonessential travel until at least July 21.

In other MLB news:

No. 3 overall draft pick Max Meyer, a right-hander from the University of Minnesota, has agreed to terms with the Marlins and is expected to be added to the 60-man roster this week. Meyer has chance to pitch in the majors this year. Right-handed reliever Nick Vincent, an eight-year veteran who pitched for the Giants and Phillies last year, also agreed to terms with the Marlins and will join the 60-man roster.

Left-handed hitting catcher Tyler Soderstrom has agreed to a minor league contract with the Oakland Athletics that includes a $3.3 million signing bonus. Sodorstrom was selected 26th, which had a slot value of $2,653,400. Oakland also finalized a deal with fifth-round selection pitcher Stevie Emanuels. Soderstrom has been added to the club's 60-player pool for workouts ahead of the season. The 18-year-old from Turlock High batted .450 as a junior in 2019.

The A's also added three non-drafted free agents: right-hander Garrett Acton out of Illinois, catcher Cooper Uhl from Loyola Marymount and outfielder D.J. Lee of the University of Richmond.

NBA

Brooklyn Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie and center DeAndre Jordan say they have tested positive for COVID-19. Dinwiddie told The Athletic he is experiencing symptoms and it is unclear if he can play when the NBA season resumes. His absence would be a significant blow to the Nets. He has played well this season with Kyrie Irving out of the lineup because of injuries. Dinwiddie says he tested negative for the virus multiple times after returning to New York and took part in a couple practices. But he has since tested positive and says he has a fever and chest soreness. Jordan is also a starter. At least six Nets players have tested positive. The previous four were in March, with Kevin Durant saying he was among them. Dinwiddie is averaging 20.6 points for the Nets, who have a half-game lead over Orlando for seventh place in the Eastern Conference. They are set to face the Magic on July 31 in their first game back.

In other NBA news:

A person familiar with the deals says the Cleveland Cavaliers have agreed to terms with free agent forward Jordan Bell on a two-year contract and signed forward Dean Wade to a multiyear deal. The 6-foot-8 Bell was a second-round pick in 2017. He spent his first two seasons with Golden State. Wade played in 12 games for Cleveland last season.

John Wall will not join the Washington Wizards for the resumption of the NBA season this summer, ending the chances of the five-time All-Star guard playing his first game since 2018.General manager Tommy Sheppard effectively ruled out Wall returning this season when he said Monday the 29-year-old wouldn't be part of the Wizards' traveling party to Central Florida. Among the factors in the decision was a cap of 35 people per team in the quarantined bubble at Walt Disney World. The COVID-19 pandemic also hindered Wall's progress in his rehab from multiple surgeries.

PGA

Monday marked the 10th day of self-isolation for Nick Watney, the minimum required for PGA Tour players who test positive for COVID-19. He said he is feeling good except for some minor fatigue, perhaps brought on by a major case of boredom, and except for the distinction of becoming the first of what now is five players and two caddies who have tested positive since the PGA Tour returned amid the pandemic. He lost his sense of smell, a sensation he described as "gnarly," but said that is coming back. And perhaps the strangest sensation is being at a golf resort without playing golf. He remains in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, as the PGA Tour has moved on to Connecticut, and now Detroit this week, and then two weeks in Ohio. The show goes on. Three more players tested positive during the Travelers Championship — Cameron Champ before the tournament started, Denny McCarthy after his first round and Dylan Frittelli after he missed the cut. Two caddies tested positive, which caused a chain-reaction of withdrawals. Harris English tested positive Monday at the Rocket Mortgage Classic in Detroit.

NFL

Prosecutors charging New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft with buying sex from massage parlor prostitutes are trying to save their case. They will argue before a Florida appellate court on Tuesday that police legally made secret video recordings of Kraft having paid sex at a massage parlor in January 2019. A lower court judge ruled that prosecutors could not use the recordings. He said the warrant allowing police to install secret cameras inside the Orchids of Asia spa violated constitutional standards. Kraft is charged with misdemeanor solicitation of prostitution. He has pleaded not guilty but issued a public apology. 

In other NFL news, Colin Kaepernick is joining with Emmy-winning filmmaker Ava DuVernay on a Netflix miniseries about the teenage roots of his activism. Neftlix says the limited series, titled "Colin in Black & White," will examine Kaepernick's high school years. In 2016, the San Francisco 49ers quarterback began kneeling during the national anthem to protest police brutality and racial inequality. His actions drew both support and criticism, with President Donald Trump among his detractors. Kaepernick became a free agent in 2017 but went unsigned. Writing on the six-episode series was completed in May, Casting details and a release date were not immediately announced for "Colin in Black & White."

THOROUGHBRED RACING

Officials have lifted a precautionary quarantine on a barn at Belmont Park after test results for a horse suspected of having equine herpesvirus Type 1 were negative. The New York Racing Association says all horses in Barn 37 were found to not have fever and were asymptomatic. As a result, they can enter races and train among the general population. 

ZANARDI 

Italian auto racing champion turned Paralympic gold medalist Alex Zanardi has undergone a second brain surgery. It comes 10 days after an emergency operation following a crash on his handbike. The latest surgery lasted 2½ hours. Zanardi was then returned to the intensive care unit in a medically induced coma at the Santa Maria alle Scotte Hospital in Siena. The hospital says in a medical bulletin, "His condition remains stable from a cardio-respiratory and metabolic viewpoint, grave from a neurological viewpoint." The 53-year-old Zanardi lost both of his legs in an auto racing crash nearly 20 years ago.

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