Nationals

Williams could replace Woodyard in Broncos lineup

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Williams could replace Woodyard in Broncos lineup

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) D.J. Williams is preparing for his first start since Jan. 14 with Wesley Woodyard still hobbled by a sprained left ankle.

The Broncos (9-3) take their seven-game winning streak to Oakland to face the reeling Raiders (3-9) Thursday night, and they'll be without Woodyard, who didn't make the trip.

``It will definitely affect the defense,'' star strongside linebacker Von Miller said. ``He's been playing well for us, really all season. But D.J., he's ready to go.''

Woodyard won the starting weakside linebacker job in training camp with incumbent Williams facing what turned out to be two suspensions totaling nine games, and he's had a breakout year. He leads the Broncos with 97 tackles and is the only NFL player with at least three interceptions and three sacks this season.

On Wednesday, Woodyard was walking around team headquarters without the noticeable limp he had after Sunday's game, but the Broncos are concerned about him aggravating the injury in a short week and they decided to keep him out of Thursday night's game with a key trip to Baltimore looming on Dec. 16.

Coach John Fox wouldn't tip his hand on his intentions for replacing Woodyard in the lineup but acknowledged it was nice to have Williams, the team's leading tackler in four of the last five seasons, as the proverbial ``next man up.''

``I feel good about all our linebacking crew: D.J., obviously getting him back, getting him more familiar as we move along in our new defensive system; Danny Trevathan's played in a lot of those roles. So, we feel confident in both of those guys,'' Fox said.

Williams returned to Dove Valley after serving a six-game suspension for violating the league's drug policy and was able to attend meetings while serving his subsequent three-game penalty for a drunken driving conviction. He was activated last month and has recorded a half-dozen tackles and one pass breakup in three games.

``I think when he came back, he didn't seem really rusty to me,'' Miller said. ``He still was in really good shape. He looked pretty good. He had been paying attention in meetings; he was on top of everything.''

Williams' last start was in Denver's loss at New England in the playoffs 11 months ago.

``I think D.J. will be ready to go, and he'll take advantage of the opportunity,'' Miller said.

Slot receiver Brandon Stokley, who missed last weekend's 31-23 win over the Buccaneers with an injured hip, was listed as questionable after being limited in practice again Wednesday. Stokley said his hip started bothering him a week ago but he wasn't sure how it happened.

The NFL expanded its Thursday night schedule this year, making a lack of physical recovery a bigger issue, especially with so many of them being divisional games, which are notoriously more scrappy.

``This is a combative game, no doubt. And it's a tough game, whether it's played any day of the week,'' Fox said.

Notes: Listed as probable are: RG Chris Kuper (ankle) WR Matt Willis (knee), G Manny Ramirez (back) and TE Virgil Green (hamstring), along with DE Robert Ayers, who missed last week while dealing with the death of his father. ... Peyton Manning's 3,502 yards passing are already the most in NFL history by a quarterback who didn't play the previous year, topping Stan Humphries' 3,356 yards with San Diego in 1992.

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Blue Jays players could face hefty punishment for leaving quarantine due to Canadian regulations

Blue Jays players could face hefty punishment for leaving quarantine due to Canadian regulations

As Major League Baseball slowly inches closer to the beginning of the regular season, an important procedure for all players involved is remaining safe and smart when they are not at the ballpark. With the coronavirus pandemic still a major threat to the sport and the public, teams are stressing the importance of remaining in safe environments.

While staying healthy for their teammates and family is enough for every player to make the right decisions, the Toronto Blue Jays may have another reason to not break away from the designated safe areas.

According to TSN's Scott Mitchell, players could face a fine up to $750,000 and jail time as a maximum punishment if they are outside places they are allowed to be.

To be clear, this report does not mean that the players will definitively face this punishment if they break quarantine. The consequences above are the maximum sentence a person could face. Additionally, this is not a regulation that was created by the Blue Jays. It is part of a Canadian Federal Government Act known as the Quarantine Act.

The Act relates to personnel who have re-entered the country, as they are then required to complete a 14-day quarantine. Because the Blue Jays will be consistently traveling to the United States for games, they fall into this category every time they travel back to Toronto.

REPORT: 6 NATIONALS AMONG DR PLAYERS MLB DID NOT TEST

The Nationals travel to Toronto for their first road series of the season on July 29-30, immediately after playing the Blue Jays in Washington D.C. The Baltimore Orioles travel to Toronto twice, playing the Blue Jays at the end of August and then again to close out the season in September. 

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Giants catcher Buster Posey opts out of 2020 to take care of newly adopted twins

Giants catcher Buster Posey opts out of 2020 to take care of newly adopted twins

Six-time All-Star and 2012 NL MVP Buster Posey has opted out of playing the 2020 MLB season, the Giants catcher told reporters on a Zoom call Friday. He’s the 11th player to decide not to play in the abbreviated season MLB is holding amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Posey and his wife, Kristen, recently adopted identical twin girls who were born prematurely and are expected to be in a neonatal intensive care unit for some time. The three-time World Series champion spent the last few days away from training camp while he deliberated the decision.

Other former All-Stars such as Felix Hernandez, David Price, Nick Markakis and Ian Desmond announced their decisions to opt out over the last three weeks. The Nationals have had three players—Ryan Zimmerman, Joe Ross and Welington Castillo—opt out of the season, the most of any team so far.

RELATED: 6 NATIONALS REPORTEDLY AMONG PLAYERS MLB DIDN'T TEST FOR COVID-19 BEFORE FLIGHT FROM D.R.

“I don’t condone anybody from making decisions that they feel they need to make,” Nationals manager Davey Martinez said in a Zoom press conference Friday. “I’m sure that Posey really thought about it and he tried it and felt like he couldn’t do it. Hey, to each his own. That’s the way he felt and we don’t hold that against him.”

As the summer progresses, the number of players who opt out will be a defining statistic that will determine the legitimacy of the 2020 season. MLB and the players union issued a joint report Friday that found that 83 of the 11,149 samples (0.2%) of “Covered Individuals” have tested positive for the coronavirus.

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