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Phillies, Giants, Blue Jays, Rangers close facilities over coronavirus concerns

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June 19 (UPI) — The Philadelphia Phillies, Toronto Blue Jays, San Francisco Giants and Texas Rangers on Friday closed their spring training facilities in response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The Phillies shuttered their facility in Clearwater, Fla., after five players and three staff members tested positive for the virus. The team didn’t disclose the names of the players or staff members.

Several Phillies players remained in the Clearwater area after the facilities were closed. The club recently allowed players to return to their facilities for workouts on a limited basis.

“The Phillies are committed to the health and welfare of our players, coaches and staff as our highest priority, and as a result of these confirmed tests, all facilities in Clearwater have been closed indefinitely to all players, coaches and staff and will remain closed until medical authorities are confident that the virus is under control and our facilities are disinfected,” Phillies managing partner John Middleton said in a statement.

Eight other tests returned negative results, according to the team. The first positive test came back Tuesday. The Phillies now await results for 20 players from their MLB and MiLB clubs and 12 staff members.

The Blue Jays shut down their site in Dunedin, Fla., located about five miles from the Phillies’ camp in Clearwater, after a player exhibited coronavirus symptoms. The team said a player on their 40-man roster underwent testing after showing symptoms consistent with the virus.

“The Toronto Blue Jays confirm that personnel at the club’s spring training facilities in Dunedin, Fla., have undergone testing for COVID-19, after a player presented symptoms consistent with those of the virus,” the team said in a statement. “The Blue Jays are following protocols put in place for this scenario, including guidelines from MLB and the club’s medical team.

“As a result, the Blue Jays have suspended operations at their Dunedin facilities for the time being.”

The Giants’ facility in Scottsdale, Ariz., was shuttered “after one person who had been in the facility and one family member exhibited mild symptoms and were tested,” according to Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi.

No player or staff member from either the Giants or Blue Jays has tested positive yet, according to USA Today Sports and The Athletic. Both clubs are awaiting results for those tests.

The Rangers also closed their camp in Arizona out of an “abundance of caution,” according to the team. The club said no players or staff tested positive for COVID-19, but they want to expand testing protocols for the virus.

Rangers players are currently housed at Rangers Village in Surprise, Ariz., and will remain there without utilizing the club’s training facilities.

MLB canceled spring training games and suspended the 2020 regular season in March due to the pandemic.

MLB team owners and the MLB Players Association are in active negotiations to determine the specifics of a shortened 2020 season.



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Miami Heat oust Boston Celtics, advance to NBA Finals

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Sept. 27 (UPI) — The Miami Heat advanced to the NBA Finals for the first time since 2014 after a 125-113 win over the Boston Celtics in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals Sunday night inside the NBA bubble near Orlando, Fla.

Bam Adebayo scored a season-high 32 points and brought down 14 rebounds for the Heat, who won the Eastern Conference for the sixth time in franchise history. Miami will play LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers for the championship. Game 1 of that series is Wednesday night.

“This group, more than anything, they just love to compete,” Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra said during the trophy celebration.

Heat star Jimmy Butler, who will be playing in his first NBA Finals, notched 22 points and eight assists. Tyler Herro had 19 points, seven assists and five rebounds, while Andre Iguodala and Duncan Robinson each scored 15. Goran Dragic added 13 points for Miami.

Jaylen Brown led the Celtics with 26 points, eight rebounds and three steals. Jayson Tatum scored 24 and had a career-best 11 assists.

Marcus Smart and Kemba Walker each added 20 points for the Celtics, who fell in the East finals for the third time in the past four seasons. Gordon Hayward recorded 12 points and two assists off the bench.

The Heat are the only NBA team with six Finals appearances in the last 15 years. They are seeking their fourth title in franchise history.



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Ottawa Senators parting ways with All-Star winger Bobby Ryan

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Sept. 25 (UPI) — The Ottawa Senators have placed All-Star forward Bobby Ryan on waivers and plan to buy out the rest of his contract.

The 33-year-old Ryan acknowledged his departure from the franchise by releasing a statement Friday.

“While the news this morning came as a bit of a shock, I understand the decision,” Ryan said. “The Sens are an upcoming young team with so many bright years ahead of them. I’m excited to follow along as a fan of all the young players with the rest of you.

“I’d like to thank [owner] Eugene Melnyk for giving me a chance to wear the Sens logo for so many years. You’ve always treated me and my family incredibly well [and] for that I’m grateful. … Ottawa will have a special place in our family’s heart forever. See you around the ice.”

Ryan had two years remaining on a seven-year, $50.75 million deal that he signed with the Senators in October 2014. Friday was the first day of the NHL’s buyout window that runs through Oct. 8.

The Anaheim Ducks selected Ryan with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. He spent his first six professional seasons with the Ducks before being traded to the Senators prior to the 2013-14 campaign.

Ryan scored more than 30 goals in four consecutive seasons for the Ducks but failed to duplicate that success in Ottawa. He topped 20 goals just twice in seven seasons with the Senators.

Ryan recorded only five goals and three assists in 24 games this season as he took a leave of absence to deal with an alcohol problem. His openness about the issue led to him winning the 2019-20 Bill Masterton Trophy, which is given annually to the player who best exemplifies perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey.

Despite his decreased production on the ice, Ryan told the Ottawa Sun that he plans to continue playing.

“I have good hockey left in me and I got away from that for about 18 months and that hurt me,” Ryan said Friday. “The way I’ve been able to train myself this summer and the way I’ve been able to treat my body, it just keeps getting better. … This is just a small setback. Everything has been a benefit to me and a new start could be the same.

“I’m still hungry, I want to play and I want to finish correctly and do it on the right terms and do it professionally.”

In 833 career NHL games between the Ducks and Senators, Ryan has notched 555 career points (254 goals, 301 assists).



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Watch: Atlanta Braves’ Ronald Acuna Jr. belts longest home run of 2020 season

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St. Louis Cardinals’ Dylan Carlson (3) is congratulated by teammate Tommy Edman after hitting a two-run homer against the Milwaukee Brewers in St. Louis on Thursday. The Cardinals defeated the Brewers 4-2. Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI | License Photo



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