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Nationals’ spring facility latest sports venue to be repurposed in response to pandemic

Sports venues are an emerging asset in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. From staging grounds to drive-thru testing facilities to makeshift hospitals, the once-empty stadiums have become a bustle of activity again.

The Washington Nationals’ spring facility in West Palm Beach, Florida, is the latest to be turned into a testing area. For now, there will be medical personnel in the parking lots instead of players.

“Our [spring] complex is being used as a coronavirus testing site until further notice,” Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said Monday. “So we’re going to shut it down to all players and staff completely while the county and National Guard use it for testing.”

“The news of probably the week is that we’ve totally closed the facility here in West Palm Beach,” Rizzo said.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

Scenarios like the one there are playing out all over the country.8

Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, FedEx Field in Washington and Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida, are just a few of the others that have been turned into testing centers. The US Army Corp of Engineers, along with FEMA, have agreed to deploy a military field hospital at Seattle’s CenturyLink Field Event Center, and a soccer field in Seattle is building its own makeshift hospital as well.

The United Center in Chicago became a staging area last week.

“As Illinois goes through this together, the United Center, home of the Chicago Bulls and Chicago Blackhawks, is proud to be playing a critical role with our city, state and federal response to the pandemic,” the Center said in a statement. “Our arena and outside campus will be transformed into a logistics hub where we will be assisting front-line food distribution, first-responder staging and the collection of critically needed medical supplies.”

Stadium personnel say their wish is that their venues remain mostly testing centers and not makeshift hospitals — or even morgues; those scenarios would mean the situation across the country had become much worse. For now, and for the foreseeable future, sports stadiums have a new purpose, with team owners pitching in wherever they’re able.cheap nfl jerseys china nike

The Jacksonville Jaguars’ TIAA Bank Field has been operating as a drive-thru coronavirus testing site since March 21.

“The Jaguars … are glad to do everything we can to assist the federal government and local health care workers in offering a testing site outside of TIAA Bank Field,” Jaguars senior VP of communications Dan Edwards said. “Right now, there’s no better use for this venue than caring for the people of Northeast Florida.”

It’s a sentiment being echoed from coast to coast, while more facilities are folded into the fight against the coronavirus.

The inside story of the first MLB player traded during the coronavirus pandemic

With everything happening in the world, with Major League Baseball shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic, with his minor league income suddenly up in the air, Pereda couldn’t believe he’d just been traded from the Chicago Cubs. As he sat in his Mesa, Arizona, hotel room holding his infant daughter, Carlotta, Pereda received a second call from Boston Red Sox assistant general manager Eddie Romero, confirming the news he’d just gotten from the Cubs.cheap nfl nike jerseys china

That’s when his new reality set in.

“I was just hoping and looking forward to the beginning of the season and to start making money,” Pereda, a 23-year-old from Aragua, Venezuela, told ESPN through a translator. “I have to give support to my family. When I found out that the season was over, my first thought was, ‘What am I going to do?'”7

Boston acquired Pereda from the Cubs last Monday, completing a trade finalized in January that sent righty Travis Lakins to Chicago — making Pereda the first player traded during the worldwide pandemic. When MLB decided last week to freeze rosters due to the suspension of the season, Pereda was joined by Rays minor league infielder Esteban Quiroz as the only players traded.

The terms of the Lakins trade required a player to be named later to be agreed upon by March 24. Last season, Pereda won the Gold Glove at the catcher position for all of minor league baseball, throwing out 50% of runners. Left unprotected by the Cubs in the Rule 5 draft, Pereda re-signed with the organization on a minor league deal this offseason before being dealt to Boston.

“We had to complete the trade by the 24th,” said Red Sox general manager Brian O’Halloran. “Nobody was sure how things were going to go with the negotiations when the potential transaction freeze might take place. We were sort of resigned to the fact that it was unusual, but we were going to acquire a player that we couldn’t see in person and that we couldn’t have report to Fort Myers [Florida] and we just had to treat him as best as we possibly could.”

His world now flipped upside down, Pereda’s mind raced. What should he do next? He wondered if he needed to fly to Fort Myers to join the other minor leaguers in the Red Sox organization. Like many players from Latin America, Pereda thought too about his family back home, who depend on his baseball salary.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

“Coming from a third-world country where everything is very hard and tough, with the entire situation, I just wish that MLB and other people can help the minor leaguers [more] than they are doing right now because we need that money to live and provide for our families,” Pereda said. “I think I can speak for all the Latin-American players, coming from there to the States, when we arrive to this country, it is because we are going to work and we are trying to make money to provide for our families.

“Of course being in the big leagues, you have all of the attention of the fans and people sometimes don’t realize how hard the struggle we have to go through. Only the players know how hard it is to get there because being in the business, you have to go to the minors first.”

Rangers’ Willie Calhoun cleared for activity after fastball to face

Texas Rangers outfielder Willie Calhoun, who suffered a broken jaw after getting hit in the face by a baseball during a spring training game on March 8, said he has been cleared to resume workouts.

“Got cleared to start doing my daily workouts and baseball activities again,” Calhoun said Thursday on Twitter.nfl jerseys nike cheap8

Calhoun’s jaw was broken when he was hit in the face by a fastball from Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Julio Urias. He was taken off the field on a motorized cart and airlifted to the hospital. He underwent surgery the following day to insert a plate and stabilize the jaw.

Calhoun hit .269 with 21 homers in 83 games last season. He is expected to start in left field for the Rangers, who traded outfielders Delino DeShields and Nomar Mazara over the winter.buy nike nfl jerseys cheap

Mets’ Noah Syndergaard to have Tommy John surgery for torn UCL

New York Mets right-hander Noah Syndergaard has a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his pitching elbow and will undergo Tommy John surgery this week, the team announced Tuesday.

Dr. David Altchek will perform the surgery Thursday at the Hospital for Special Surgery, according to the Mets.

“After experiencing discomfort in his elbow before spring training was suspended due to the pandemic, Noah and our health and performance department have been in constant contact,” Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen said in a statement. “Based on the persistence of his symptoms, Noah underwent a physical examination and MRI that revealed the ligament tear. A second opinion from Dr. Neal ElAttrache confirmed the diagnosis and the recommendation for surgery.buy nike nfl jerseys cheap

“Noah is an incredibly hard worker and a tremendous talent. While this is unfortunate, we have no doubt that Noah will be able to return to full strength and continue to be an integral part of our championship pursuits in the future.”

Syndergaard, 27, who is one of the hardest-throwing starting pitchers in baseball history and has among the best arsenal of pitches in the game, was expected to anchor the Mets’ rotation alongside ace Jacob deGrom.

Syndergaard threw a career-high 197⅔ innings last season, and while his ERA was a career-worst 4.28, the combination of good health and stuff foretold good things.nfl jerseys nike cheap

The health end did not hold up, and Syndergaard will be sidelined until April 2021 at the earliest — and more likely until the early summer. He is the second high-profile pitcher to need Tommy John surgery in recent days, with Boston Red Sox ace Chris Sale also confirming he would undergo the elbow reconstruction surgery.

Syndergaard, acquired by the Mets in 2012 when they traded Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey to Toronto, was an instant phenom. His fastball consistently hit 100 mph, he ripped off sliders as fast as 93 mph, and he struck out 166 batters in 150 innings as a 22-year-old rookie in 2015. His best year came in 2016, when he was an All-Star and posted a 2.60 ERA in 183⅔ innings.

Injuries wiped out most of Syndergaard’s 2017 season and shortened his 2018. He planned to join deGrom and Marcus Stroman atop the Mets’ rotation, with Steven Matz, Rick Porcello and Michael Wacha filling out the last two spots.

With baseball sidelined until at least May because of the coronavirus outbreak, the Mets now won’t have to choose among the final three for a rotation spot. Their prospects for 2020, which were bright during a strong spring, got that much more difficult in a National League East with the defending World Series champion Washington Nationals, defending division winner Atlanta Braves and a Philadelphia Phillies team with playoff aspirations.7

Padres reliever Andres Munoz has Tommy John surgery

Hard-throwing Padres reliever Andres Munoz and minor leaguer Reggie Lawson underwent Tommy John surgery Friday.

Both right-handers were injured shortly before spring training was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.nfl cheap jerseys nike8

Munoz, 21, made his big league debut last year and appeared in 22 games. He went 1-1 with a 3.91 ERA and 30 strikeouts, against 11 walks. He would have been a key member of the Padres’ beefed-up bullpen this season, if and when it resumes.nike nfl jerseys wholesale cheap

The 22-year-old Lawson was 3-1 with a 5.20 ERA in six starts with Double-A Amarillo last season before being shut down with an elbow injury. He returned for the Arizona Fall League, going 1-0 with a 0.82 ERA in three appearances, including two starts.

Rockies’ Bud Black open to doubleheaders when MLB returns

Let’s play two? Colorado Rockies manager Bud Black would be down for doubleheaders.

Maybe even a couple a week.

That might be a necessity to make up games once a baseball season delayed by the new coronavirus gets under way.

“In theory, yeah, I think all of us would be up for some sort of doubleheader situation,” Black said during a conference call Thursday. “The thing that’s going to be in front of all of us is it’s going to be the same for everybody. It’s got to make sense for the clubs and the players.”

Opening Day has been pushed back from March 26 to mid-May at the earliest, and both sides are committed to playing as many games as possible.

Translation: Doubleheaders could be on the docket.7

“I know that when we’re able to safely play, we’re going to have to think of creative ways to get in as many games as possible given all the time that’s going to be lost,” said Farhan Zaidi, the president of baseball operations for the San Francisco Giants. “I don’t really have any specific thoughts on that, but I know everybody’s going to be thinking through ways to do that.”cheap nfl nike jerseys from china

More than anything, Black wants his players to treat this time away like it’s December and the season is still in the distance.

Don’t ramp up.

Black said when a timetable is known, the teams will be given approximately three weeks to get back in shape as part of a second spring training. That’s plenty of time for a starting pitcher to work his way into form.

“There’s no need to throw bullpens. We’re a ways away from that,” Black said.

Hit in a cage — if one’s available. Work out at their gym at home. Or play catch — with social distancing in mind.

“They get together and go to a local park, they go to a high school, they go somewhere where there’s a stretch of grass and they play catch,” Black said. “They’re not going to play closer than six feet together, right? You can play catch.

“Guys are on the down low. They’re probably not doing much baseball activity right now. There’s a sense this is going to be much longer than first anticipated by baseball.”nfl cheap jerseys nike

Opening Day would have been next week. That’s hard for Black to fathom in light of what’s happening around the world.

“I miss the build-up to opening day. I miss what that’s all about. I love our sport. I love the people in it,” Black said. “I’m probably as practical as they come and a realist, and aware of what’s going on and that takes a precedence over our sport and our jobs.”

Rangers OF Willie Calhoun close to light workouts after broken jaw

Texas — Rangers outfielder Willie Calhoun is back in Texas and will be able to start light workouts soon in his recovery from a broken jaw.

The Rangers said Tuesday that Calhoun was examined by Dr. Steven Wiener in Phoenix and cleared to travel before flying back on a team charter Monday night.cheap official nike nfl jerseys

“This team is my family, and I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else,” Calhoun tweeted Tuesday.8

Calhoun’s jaw was broken when he was hit in the face by a fastball during a spring training game on March 8. He was taken off the field on a motorized cart and airlifted to the hospital. Wiener performed surgery the following day to insert a plate and stabilize the jaw.

The Rangers said Calhoun had no other current symptoms outside the jaw fracture and would be able to start light cardio activity later this week.nfl cheap nike jerseys

Calhoun hit .269 with 21 homers in 83 games last season. He is expected to start in left field for the Rangers, who traded outfielders Delino DeShields and Nomar Mazara over the winter. It looked as if Calhoun would begin the season on the injured list before Opening Day was delayed indefinitely because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Los Angeles Dodgers left-hander Julio Urias, a former minor league teammate and friend of Calhoun’s, threw the pitch that hit Calhoun. The left-handed hitting Calhoun was drafted by the Dodgers in 2015, and traded to Texas in July 2017 in a package for Yu Darvish.

Athletics president asks coronavirus patient to throw first pitch on Opening Day

Oakland Athletics president Dave Kaval has reached out to a fan who has said he has tested positive for coronavirus about throwing out the first pitch on Opening Day.

A 39-year-old fan named Justin tweeted a picture Monday of himself wearing an A’s hat while in a hospital bed.nfl cheap nike jerseys

“I have it,” Justin said in his Twitter post. “Don’t sleep on this thing people. I’m a very healthy type I diabetic. My body is fighting it very well but it’s kicking my ass. Don’t be a moron. Stay home!”7

The post came to the attention of Kaval and the A’s after they had already announced Monday that they were donating $100,000 to the Alameda County Community Food Bank to help during the coronavirus pandemic.cheap official nike nfl jerseys

“This is an unprecedented time in our community,” Kaval said in a release after the team’s donation. “As we navigate this pandemic, it is crucial that we come together and help those who need us most.”

Major League Baseball announced Monday it had pushed back Opening Day until mid-May at the earliest after the federal government recommended restricting events of more than 50 people for the next eight weeks because of coronavirus.

Christian Yelich stakes future to Brewers with $215M, 9-year deal

Making sure Christian Yelich was a Brewer for life while allowing the team some payroll flexibility were two factors in negotiations as Milwaukee officially announced its new nine-year deal for the former MVP on Friday.

The extension will almost assuredly keep Yelich, 28, from ever reaching free agency in his career.

“I made two decisions in my life that I felt were right at the time,” Yelich said at a news conference Friday announcing the deal. “Chances are I’m probably never going to see free agency. That’s just how my career went.”

Previously, Yelich had signed a long-term extension with the Miami Marlins before being traded to Milwaukee before the 2018 season. With the Brewers, he won the NL MVP in 2018 and finished second in the 2019 voting despite missing the final month of the season with an injury.buy nike nfl jerseys cheap

Yelich’s new deal will encompass the final two seasons of his previous contract and tack on seven more seasons. The total package is for $215 million and includes a no-trade clause and no opt-outs.

“This is what you call an ‘opt-in,'” Yelich’s agent Joe Longo quipped.6

The structure of the deal includes $4 million a year in deferrals in the seasons when his contract is maxed out at $26 million. In other words, the Brewers will never pay more than $22 million to Yelich in a season, allowing them the flexibility to build around him. The deferrals begin the year after the contract runs out.

“That was part of our discussions, internally,” Brewers general manager David Stearns said. “How can we make that happen? Knowing Christian is going to be here for the better part of a decade helps us plan and map out how we’re going to remain competitive for that time period. That was a priority of Christian’s.”

In signing the deal, which averages just less than $24 million, it’s possible Yelich left some money on the table. Several other elite stars, including Bryce Harper, Mike Trout and Nolan Arenado, have signed for more annually.nike nfl jerseys cheap paypal

“This is the place I wanted to play and to be,” Yelich said. “I realize I had three years before free agency, but above all else, I meant it when I said I wanted to finish my career as a Milwaukee Brewer. Not only that, but be part of winning teams as a Brewer.”

The sides began talking last Halloween when Longo and owner Mark Attanasio met for lunch. Yelich even attended two face-to-face sessions, including one during spring training as the sides closed in on a deal.

“With today’s agreement, Christian has the opportunity to further cement his legacy as one of the best players in Milwaukee baseball history,” Stearns said. “It’s very rare a player and his team’s identity become so intertwined in such a short period of time. It’s happened here.”

Cubs pitcher Yu Darvish can guess your blood type

It might be the strangest party trick anyone’s ever heard of, but for those who know the Cubs right-hander, it’s just another quirky aspect of his ever-emerging personality. Blood types are more commonly talked about in Japanese culture but even with that knowledge, Darvish isn’t exactly sure how he came about this unique ability. It’s just something he can do.cheap nike nfl jerseys china

“It’s what I might use in casual conversation,” Darvish explained recently at Cubs camp. “Like [catcher] Victor Caratini might walk by and we’ll carry on the conversation.” And from that conversation, Darvish can guess his blood type. He explains:

“So there is Type A. That person is organized. Type B isn’t exactly selfish but he goes his own way. Type O is laid back, a ‘whatever happens’ type of guy. AB is weird or different.”5

But was he right? That’s the one problem with this party trick. Who actually knows their own blood type?

In Japan, it’s common, but only a couple of Cubs players actually knew theirs and the information is not kept in their regular medical charts. When a few teammates heard Darvish could guess blood types, they went scrambling to find out their own.

“I almost gave my mother a heart attack,” first baseman Anthony Rizzo said with a laugh.buy nike nfl jerseys cheap

Rizzo called his mom to find out but without any explanation, she got worried. Alas, no transfusions were needed for her son, but she didn’t know his blood type. Neither did Kris Bryant’s mom or dad. However, Darvish’s agent, Joel Wolfe, did know his — which Darvish guessed correctly.

“It all started during his free-agent year [2018], when we were meeting with teams,” Wolfe explained. “We were at one of his favorite spots in Dallas for dinner, after meeting with all these general managers and assistant general managers. All these new people for him. And he mentions something about one of them being Type A blood type. That struck me as odd. He says unusual things, sometimes, so I pressed him. And he said he could guess most people’s blood type if he knows them. So he guessed mine. I had to call my mom, but he got it right.