Nationals

Timberwolves star Love re-fractures right hand

Timberwolves star Love re-fractures right hand

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) The injury-riddled Minnesota Timberwolves lost star forward Kevin Love to a broken right hand for the second time this season when an MRI confirmed the injury on Saturday.

Love re-fractured his third metacarpal in the hand, and the team said it expects to know more about a timetable for his return after he is examined by a hand specialist in New York.

The original injury, which occurred on Oct. 17, sidelined Love for the first three weeks of the season and has hampered his shooting. He re-injured the hand during the third quarter Thursday night at Denver.

``He's a huge part of what we were hoping to do and now we have to find other ways to do it,'' coach Rick Adelman said before Saturday night's game against Portland. ``Even in the game in Denver, people talk about his shooting, but he had 13 rebounds at halftime and 13 points. That's two big numbers. We have to find a way to manufacture those numbers and find a different way to play.''

Love is averaging a team-best 18.3 points and 14.0 rebounds in 18 games.

It's the latest in a long list of key injuries for the Wolves during the first half of the season. Ricky Rubio, who was scratched for Saturday night's game with back spasms, missed the first 20 games of the season while he continued his recovery from knee surgery. Brandon Roy, Malcolm Lee and Chase Budinger are out with knee injuries, and Josh Howard was waived in late December after a season-ending knee injury.

``I've never been through anything like this,'' Adelman said. ``You start out with Ricky from the very beginning, hoping to get him back and then it's just been one thing after the other.''

Rubio also missed the previous three games with back spasms. The Timberwolves are being cautious with dynamic point guard, who started experiencing back problems not long after he returned after missing nine months due to the knee injury. Adelman has said Rubio might be overcompensating for his recovering knee, which could lead to other issues.

``We're 15-14 and I'm trying to figure out how we were able to get there,'' Adelman said. ``This team does have resolve about them.''

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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.