Nationals

TE Reed latest Florida player to leave for NFL

TE Reed latest Florida player to leave for NFL

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) No. 4 Florida is losing at least three underclassmen to the NFL.

Tight end Jordan Reed, the team's leading receiver this season, declared for the NFL draft Friday. He joined safety Matt Elam and defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd as Florida players skipping their senior season.

Reed, a junior from New London, Conn., had 45 receptions for 559 yards and three touchdowns this season. He was a first-team, All-SEC selection by The Associated Press.

``I've enjoyed four good years at Florida, but I feel that now is the right time to pursue my dream of playing in the NFL,'' Reed said in a statement released by the school.

Floyd and Elam announced their intentions following a 33-23 loss to Louisville in the Sugar Bowl on Wednesday night. Defensive end Dominique Easley said he was unsure about his plans.

``It's been a dream for all three of these players to pursue a career in the NFL and now they are all getting a chance to realize that dream,'' coach Will Muschamp said. ``We are very thankful for their contributions to the Florida football program over the years and we wish them the very best of luck in the pursuit of their dreams.''

Reed's draft stock is the most questionable of the three early entrants.

Floyd and Elam are considered early round picks, maybe even first-day selections.

Floyd recorded 46 tackles, including a team-high 13 for loss. He also had six quarterback hurries, three sacks, two blocked kicks and a forced fumble.

``I sat down and talked to a lot of people about my decision and I'm going to go in the draft this year,'' Floyd said. ``All my focus was on my team and on this season. Now it's time to move on. The coaches supported my decision and I'm ready.''

Elam led the Gators with four interceptions and was second on the team with 76 tackles. Elam had 11 tackles for loss, five pass breakups, two sacks and a forced fumble.

``I've had three great years here at the University of Florida,'' said Elam, whose older brother plays in the NFL. ``I've had a lot of advice during the process and I feel like it's the right decision for me and my family.''

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Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman tests positive for COVID-19 with Opening Day 12 days away

Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman tests positive for COVID-19 with Opening Day 12 days away

The New York Yankees could be without their top relief arm on Opening Night against the Nationals.

Manager Aaron Boone announced Saturday that Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman is experiencing “mild symptoms” after testing positive for the coronavirus and will be away from the team “for the foreseeable future.” Chapman is the third Yankees player to contract the virus after infielder DJ LeMahieu and reliever Luis Cessa tested positive in early July.

Boone’s announcement comes 12 days before the Yankees are scheduled to take on the Nationals in D.C. to kick off MLB’s abbreviated 2020 season. New York will play three games against Washington in the only series between the two clubs this year.

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However, if any team is built to absorb the loss of its closer, it’s the Yankees. Boone said that reliever Zack Britton would be the “natural guy” to handle ninth-inning duties if Chapman isn’t ready for the start of the season. New York’s bullpen also includes Adam Ottavino, Chad Green and Tommy Kahnle, each of whom—like Britton—would be a closer on most other teams.

On Friday, MLB and the players union announced that 28 of the 30 MLB teams had at least one player or staff member test positive for the coronavirus between intake screening and monitoring testing. Overall, 83 of the 11,149 samples collected have come back positive—a rate of 0.7 percent.

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Juan Soto, Victor Robles, Howie Kendrick among several Nationals players still not in Summer Camp

Juan Soto, Victor Robles, Howie Kendrick among several Nationals players still not in Summer Camp

WASHINGTON --More than a week into the Major League Baseball’s reboot, and its gleefully-named and grotesquely-sponsored Summer Camp, the Nationals are still in wait-and-see mode.

Two players tested positive for Coronavirus at intake screening. The team is not obligated to release their names and cannot do so without the player’s permission. So, what we do know is Juan Soto, Victor Robles and Howie Kendrick are among multiple players not yet in Nationals Park for workouts 12 days before the season is scheduled to begin.

Their health and safety is paramount. However, when they are not working with the team, the organization needs to formulate a baseball-specific plan to go forward without them, should the need arise. And, that time is close because the preparation window is closing.

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“Right now, we’re taking things one day at a time,” Davey Martinez said Saturday. “I’ve got to put eyes on these guys and see where they’re at. I know Soto was actually working out pretty good in the Dominican back home, so was Robles. I talked to those guys. We talked to the strength-and-conditioning guys. They think they’re in really good shape. They worked really hard. We’ll have to get them on the field.

“The biggest thing is they can be in great shape, but how much baseball shape have they done? To me, where something happens, if anybody strains an oblique, you’re looking at a significant amount of time. You’re probably looking at almost a whole season here with only 60 games. We got to be careful, we’ve got to see where they’re at. Then once they get here, we’ll determine whether they’re going to be ready or not.”

The Nationals have three exhibition games scheduled before the season opener against Gerrit Cole and the New York Yankees. They can carry 30 players into that game. Martinez is trying to worry about who is in the stadium since he has no control over the clearances for the players who are not.

“We’re in a difficult situation,” Martinez said. “We really are with these guys. We’ve done everything we can. I know our strength guys have Zoomed with them and actually put them on some kind of workout program and watching them do what they can do in their apartment. You’re talking about some of our younger players, too. We don’t want to get them hurt. We’ve got to be smart. We’re also talking about a shorter season where we’ve got to win games right away. We’ll see how these guys come in and for me, it’s the baseball shape....Standing on their feet for seven, eight, nine innings.”

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Catcher Raudy Read played first base during Saturday’s intrasquad workout at Nationals Park. He was there in part because Read could well be a first baseman in the long-term. The Nationals also needed another body at the spot because Eric Thames -- their lone true first baseman available -- played for the opposing side.

The team variations spread across the infield and into the outfield because Soto, Robles and Luis Garcia remain in quarantine.

Martinez said “hopefully” the players in quarantine will be with the team soon. Even if they are, their window to be prepared for Cole is extremely limited, which is going to force the Nationals to start making contingency plans.