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Losing Lakers limp into Cleveland

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Losing Lakers limp into Cleveland

CLEVELAND (AP) Pau Gasol's got sore knees. Steve Nash's broken leg isn't completely healed. The Lakers' record is hurting.

But Los Angeles coach Mike D'Antoni, still learning about his disappointing and currently disjointed team, sees bigger issues than key injuries, shaky transition defense and suspect foul shooting.

``Collectively,'' he said, ``our spirit is just not there to win and we're going to have to get over that real quick.''

The star-studded-but-struggling Lakers (9-12) have lost seven of 10 as they open a four-game road trip Tuesday night against the Cleveland Cavaliers, who will have back star point guard Kyrie Irving after he missed 11 games with a broken left index finger.

The Cavs went just 2-9 without Irving, last season's rookie of the year.

Gasol was not at the Lakers' morning shootaround and will likely miss his fifth straight game with tendinitis in his knees. D'Antoni doesn't know when one of his starters will be back in the lineup. He said Gasol will be evaluated on a daily basis.

As D'Antoni met with reporters, Nash, who has missed 19 games since fracturing his left fibula in a collision with Portland's Damian Lillard on Oct. 31, shot jumpers and worked on his ballhandlng at the far end of Quicken Loans Arena with a member of the Lakers' training staff.

Nash has not yet been cleared to practice and D'Antoni doesn't know when the two-time league MVP will be available.

``When he's ready to go, he's ready to go,'' D'Antoni said, ``and I don't think he knows totally. Hopefully, it's sooner than later. I'm like a kid at Christmas, man. I'm trying to get to the presents.''

D'Antoni said Nash will have to play some 2-on-2 or 3-on-3 before he can play in games.

Nash's return may settle things down a bit, but the Lakers, who entered the season expected to waltz toward a title after adding center Dwight Howard and Nash to a lineup featuring Kobe Bryant, have plenty of problems. D'Antoni was brought in after coach Mike Brown was fired after five games to fix them, but to this point the purple and gold remain an enigma.

The Lakers aren't clicking and D'Antoni pointed to his team's inability to slow down opponents as a chief reason.

``We're losing now because we're 30th in fast-break points for the other team,'' he said. ``A lot of that is turnovers and a lot of that is not getting back. We've got to be much more aware of boxing out at the foul line, much more aware of getting to our men and our defense right now is compromised a little bit by turnovers and a lot by leak outs and us not getting back.''

D'Antoni believes the Lakers' current woes are correctable.

Bryant, too, said he and his teammates can make things easier by buckling down on defense.

``The thing that's really kicking our butt and that we're extremely weak at is our transition defense,'' Bryant said, sitting on the scorer's table following the morning shootaround. ``Physically we're just not a very fast team, so we have to be very smart about our positioning on the floor and get back on defense. Our half-court defense is pretty good.''

Nash won't heal the Lakers on defense, but his presence on the floor can't hurt.

``It will help,'' Bryant said, ``because our team is built to have him on the floor with myself and Pau and Dwight and we haven't had that yet.''

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Masahiro Tanaka hit in the head off a comebacker from Giancarlo Stanton

Masahiro Tanaka hit in the head off a comebacker from Giancarlo Stanton

New York Yankees starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka took a scary line drive off of his head during the Yankees practice on Saturday. 

The comebacker came from the bat of the hard-hitting Giancarlo Stanton at Yankee Stadium. Tanaka was throwing a simulated game during the team's first day back together for practice at 'Training Camp 2.0.'

Below is the video of the 31-year-old right-hander being struck. Warning: the video is graphic.

According to multiple reports, Tanaka was on the ground for roughly five minutes and immediately attended to by New York's training staff. Afterward, Tanaka was able to walk to the dugout with some assistance. 

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The team announced Tanaka is alert, responsive and was sent to a local hospital for further evaluation and testing.

The six-year veteran has spent his entire United States baseball career with the Yankees. Last year he posted a disappointing 11-9 record and a 4.45 ERA. He is expected to be the Bronx Bombers' No. 2 starter behind offseason acquisition Gerrit Cole.

Already the Yankees lost one starting pitcher this season as Luis Severino underwent Tommy John surgery in the spring.

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FC Dallas-Vancouver Whitecaps match postponed after eight positive coronavirus tests

FC Dallas-Vancouver Whitecaps match postponed after eight positive coronavirus tests

The MLS is Back Tournament match between FC Dallas and the Vancouver Whitecaps set for Thursday has been postponed after eight players tested positive for the coronavirus.

The group-stage game will be rescheduled, the league said Saturday.

FC Dallas announced earlier this week that six players had tested positive for the virus upon arrival in Florida for the tournament. The entire team was quarantined.

Two Whitecaps players tested positive, forcing the team to remain in Canada, the league said. Additional tests were negative, but the team had to push back travel until Monday.

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The MLS is Back Tournament is set to open on Wednesday with a match between Orlando City and expansion Inter Miami.

The league's 26 teams will be sequestered in hotels for the duration of the monthlong tournament played without fans at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex at Walt Disney World.

MLS shut down because of the coronavirus pandemic on March 12 after teams had each played two games.

FC Dallas said all players and staff tested negative for the coronavirus before leaving for the tournament on last Saturday. Upon arrival, two players tested positive. Subsequent tests found four more players infected with the virus that causes COVID-19.

"In consultation with MLS medical officials, FC Dallas took proactive steps to isolate the newly affected players as well as all FC Dallas players and staff in Orlando out of an abundance of caution. All members of the club delegation are following MLS health and safety protocols and will remain quarantined in their hotel rooms pending the results of further COVID-19 testing," the team said in a statement.

The names of the players were not released.

The league said no other team was in contact with the FC Dallas delegation. League protocol requires players and staff to be tested every two days upon arrival in Florida.

FC Dallas will now open the tournament on July 15 against the Seattle Sounders, while the Whitecaps will play the San Jose Earthquakes later that day.

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