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As baseball nears the two-week countdown to the start of its delayed season, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to keep more players, including Boston Red Sox projected opening day starter Eduardo Rodriguez, off the field.

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NEW YORK (AP) — Mookie Betts, Gerrit Cole and a pair of high-profile matchups are set for opening day as Major League Baseball begins its shortened 60-game season on July 23 in ballparks without fans amid the coronavirus pandemic.

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ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — All-Star slugger Joey Gallo tested positive for the coronavirus, forcing the outfielder who is asymptomatic to miss the start of summer camp for the Texas Rangers after being among teammates who had worked out at their new ballpark for several weeks before that.

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LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Black national anthem was born more than a century ago, but the popular hymn within the African American community called “Lift Every Voice and Sing” has resurrected a beacon of hope during nationwide protests.

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Former Cy Young Award winner Félix Hernández has joined the list of major leaguers opting out of the 2020 season due to the coronavirus pandemic, at least temporarily ending the 34-year-old’s bid to revive his career.

HOUSTON (AP) — Houston Astos shortstop Carlos Correa is so serious about not contracting the coronavirus that he’s asked his wife, Daniella, a former pageant queen, to stay out of beauty salons until the season is over.

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Texas Rangers manager Chris Woodward was going to address his entire team before the start of MLB's unprecedented summer training camp, just like he did when spring training opened about 4 1/2 months ago. It was on a Zoom call instead of in person this time.

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COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP) — Texas A&M's football program was placed on probation and coach Jimbo Fisher given a six-month show cause order by the NCAA on Thursday after the Aggies were found to have violated recruiting and other rules beginning in January 2018.

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The coronavirus numbers kept climbing Thursday, with a single-day record for new cases being set in Florida and the NBA revealing that the count of players and staff from the 22 remaining teams that have confirmed diagnoses of COVID-19 continues to grow.

Mark Byington has spent more than three months as the men’s basketball coach at James Madison without being able to take a recruiting trip or meet personally with the eight players joining his program during the coronavirus pandemic.

Major League Baseball is set to resume “spring training” this week while moving toward the start of a shortened 60-game season in late July. If not for the coronavirus pandemic, the league would have reached the halfway point of its usual 162-game schedule. Wimbledon would have also been getting started at the All England Club. The Associated Press looks at some of the sporting events that had been scheduled the week of June 29-July 5:

Deuce McAllister grew up in Mississippi and was well aware of the racial history of Ole Miss when he decided to play football there in the late 1990s. Even so, he never got used to seeing the Confederate battle emblem on game day.

VIERA, Fla. (AP) — A fast-pitch softball team was sharply criticized by U.S. star Cat Osterman and several of her teammates after it tweeted to President Donald Trump that its players were standing for the national anthem and respecting the flag.

NEW YORK (AP) — Extra innings that start with runners on second base, games ending in ties and re-entry are among the possibilities for a radically altered 2020 Major League Baseball season, one limited to a maximum 60 games by teams that claim they can't afford more due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Every team in Major League Baseball will shut its spring training camp over concerns about the coronavirus pandemic, a move that came in the wake of the Philadelphia Phillies announcing Friday five players had tested positive for COVID-19.

LANCASTER, Pa. (AP) — The independent Atlantic League won’t be able to play this season because of the coronavirus pandemic, and its Sugar Land Skeeters will host a four-team circuit whose managers are to include Roger Clemens, Pete Incaviglia and Greg Swindell.

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — The interim president of the University of Texas said Monday he is scheduling meetings with student groups after dozens of Longhorns athletes said they wanted the school to ditch “The Eyes of Texas” song and rename several campus buildings.

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