Clayton Kershaw scratched from Opening Day start vs. Giants — HardballTalk | NBC Sports

Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw has been scratched from Thursday’s Opening Day start against the Giants. Dustin May will start instead.

Clayton Kershaw scratched from Opening Day start vs. Giants — HardballTalk | NBC Sports

Bill BaerJul 23, 2020, 6:22 PM EDTLeave a comment

Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw has been scratched from Thursday’s Opening Day start against the Giants due to back stiffness, MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick reportsDustin May has been recalled to make the start in Kershaw’s place.

Kershaw was slated to oppose Giants right-hander Johnny Cueto to kick off the 60-game 2020 regular season in Los Angeles. It would have been Kershaw’s ninth career Opening Day start. The previous eight occurred from 2011-18. Hyun-Jin Ryu started on Opening Day last season.

Last season, Kershaw went 16-5 with a 3.30 ERA, 189 strikeouts, and 41 walks across 178 1/3 innings. He made 28 starts, his highest total since making 33 in 2015. Injuries have certainly become a regular part of life for the lefty, though he has still managed to pitch at least 149 innings in each of the last four seasons.

As Bill Shaikin of The Los Angeles Times notes, May will become the first Dodger rookie to start on Opening Day since Fernando Valenzuela in 1981. May, 22, made his major league debut last year, starting four games and pitching out of the bullpen 10 times. Over 34 2/3 innings, he yielded 14 runs on 33 hits and five walks with 32 strikeouts. MLB Pipeline rates May as the No. 2 prospect in the Dodgers’ system behind Gavin Lux.

Giants-Dodgers will start at 10:08 PM ET tonight, a few hours after the season officially opens with Yankees-Nationals in D.C.

Follow @Baer_Bill

Kemba Walker Injury: Celtics Star Progressing But Wont Play In Scrimmage — NESN.com

The latest Kemba Walker injury update offers (mostly) good news to Boston Celtics fans. Walker on Thursday returned to practice at Walt Disney World after missing multiple sessions due to an ailing knee. Although the Celtics guard feels he’s trending in the right direction, he will not play in Friday’s scrimmage against the Oklahoma City…

Kemba Walker Injury: Celtics Star Progressing But Wont Play In Scrimmage — NESN.com

BLUE JAYS OPENING DAY ROSTER

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Toronto, Ontario

July 23, 2020

BLUE JAYS ANNOUNCE OPENING DAY ROSTER

The Toronto Blue Jays have announced their 30-man active roster and three-player taxi squad for Opening Day. A complete list is below.

The following roster moves have also been made:

  • Chase Anderson has been placed on the 10-day injured list (retroactive to July 20) with a right oblique strain.
  • Ryan Borucki has been optioned to the club’s alternate training site.
  • A.J. Cole has been selected to the Major League roster.
  • Brian Moran has been selected to the Major League roster.
  • Santiago Espinal has been recalled from the club’s alternate training site.
  • Thomas Hatch has been recalled from the club’s alternate training site.
  • Anthony Kay has been recalled from the club’s alternate training site.
  • Jacob Waguespack has been recalled from the club’s alternate training site.
A screenshot of a cell phone

Description automatically generated

NBA Ended Relationship with Basketball Academy in China, Says Mark Tatum —

David Zalubowski/Associated PressNBA Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer Mark Tatum responded to Republican Sen. Marsha Blackburn’s letter to Commissioner Adam Silver questioning why the league had a training center in Xinjiang, China, a region where the Chinese government is reportedly detaining around a million Muslim Uyghurs in concentration camp-like conditions. “The NBA has had no involvement with the…

NBA Ended Relationship with Basketball Academy in China, Says Mark Tatum —

David Zalubowski/Associated Press

NBA Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer Mark Tatum responded to Republican Sen. Marsha Blackburn’s letter to Commissioner Adam Silver questioning why the league had a training center in Xinjiang, China, a region where the Chinese government is reportedly detaining around a million Muslim Uyghurs in concentration camp-like conditions. 

“The NBA has had no involvement with the Xinjiang basketball academy for more than a year, and the relationship has been terminated,” Tatum wrote in a response letter to Blackburn, per Ross Dellenger of SI.com. 

Blackburn released the following statement in response (h/t ESPN):

“China is responsible for some of the greatest human rights violations of our time. The NBA’s decision to abandon its footprint in Xinjiang, where millions of Muslim Uyghurs have been brutally confined in ‘reeducation camps,’ is the right way to condemn Chinese oppression and should motivate other American corporations to decry such atrocities. Making money and standing up for human rights should not be mutually exclusive.”

In the original letter, Blackburn also asked Silver about China Central Television banning NBA games after Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey expressed a message of public support for Hong Kong protesters in October, and the league’s relationship to Chinese state-run corporation Alibaba.

Brooklyn Nets governor Joseph Tsai is the founder and executive vice chairman of Alibaba. 

Tatum estimated in his response the television ban has cost the NBA “hundreds of millions” of dollars, per Dellenger, and that the league’s multi-year contract with Alibaba “primarily concerns the distribution of NBA content on Alibaba’s digital platforms in China.”

Blackburn expressed displeasure about the response in general and that Tatum—who asked all further inquiries to be directed to him, not Silver—was the one who responded:

“It is inconceivable and disrespectful for Commissioner Silver to sidestep an issue that requires real leadership. The reply from Deputy Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer Mark Tatum lacks the appropriate concern and responsibility that should accompany congressional correspondence. These technical answers do not address the larger questions about whether there is a conflict between their financial decisions and professed values.”

A number of Republicans have publicly targeted the NBA’s relationship with China, including Sens. Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz and President Donald Trump.

CSPAN @cspan

President Trump on NBA and China: “I thought it was pretty sad actually.” https://t.co/Y7AhigEfWe

There has been less consternation from prominent Republicans about the business ties and relationships other sporting leagues have with China such as the NFL, NHL and MLB, though the NBA’s financial foothold in China is greater. 

Read More

Aron Baynes Says He Tested Positive for COVID-19, Hopes to Join Suns in Orlando —

Matt York/Associated PressPhoenix Suns center Aron Baynes confirmed he tested positive for COVID-19.Baynes told Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium he remains hopeful of rejoining the Suns for the restart of the 2019-20 season but that he hasn’t “touched a basketball for over 30 days.”Shams Charania @ShamsCharaniaPhoenix Suns center Aron Baynes (@AronBaynes) tells me…

Aron Baynes Says He Tested Positive for COVID-19, Hopes to Join Suns in Orlando —

Duncan Robinson is picking up where he left off for the Miami Heat — nyob.news

Duncan Robinson has been one of the hottest shooters in the NBA this season. In the first minutes of the Miami Heat’s scrimmage, he’s already blazing.

Duncan Robinson is picking up where he left off for the Miami Heat — nyob.news

Raptors’ Davis keeps focus on social injustices — Toronto Sun

It was Terence Davis’ turn to speak with the media on Wednesday. Read More

Raptors’ Davis keeps focus on social injustices — Toronto Sun


Raptors’ Davis keeps focus on social injustices

Mike GanterMore from Mike Ganter

Published:July 22, 2020

Updated:July 22, 2020 7:45 PM EDT

RELATED

It was Terence Davis’ turn to speak with the media on Wednesday.

He listened politely as the first question was asked and then just as politely informed the media gathering that he had a little more on his mind right now than just a basketball game.

“This week, man, me personally, I think you guys have seen, a lot of the guys, we’re united right now,” he said of the NBA’s efforts to keep the issue of social injustice front and centre despite the looming return of the sport they all love.

“We’re just keeping the focus on Breonna Taylor’s killers. That’s what I want to keep the focus on this week. I can answer all of your guys’ questions — it’s nothing against you guys — and I can answer all of you guys’ questions post-game or any time after we’re playing but right now I just want to keep the focus on what’s really going on in the world.”

Davis is just the latest member of the NBA fraternity intent on showing they are serious about using the platform they have as professional athletes to make meaningful inroads in the issues that plague society as a whole.

“There’s a lot of social injustice going on and I just want to make sure that I’m doing the right thing and using my platform, as well as other athletes, to just continue with this thing, man,” Davis said. “We all stand united. We don’t all have to be on the same team but we’re still united in the league. So, like I said, I just want to keep the focus on Breonna Taylor’s killers and just keep that going, man, because (social injustice) is still going on in the world.”

With that he left the interview room.

Nuggets’ Bol Bol shines in unofficial NBA debut: “I’ve been waiting a long time” for this moment — The Denver Post — SAM TUMBLIN

The debut of Nuggets rookie Bol Bol was as fascinating as the NBA’s bubble experiment itself. That it came under ridiculous circumstances – no fans and a severely compromised Nuggets roster – made no difference. The 7-foot-2 forward balled out in his first real competition against NBA talent, validating the whispers that had trickled out… via […]

Nuggets’ Bol Bol shines in unofficial NBA debut: “I’ve been waiting a long time” for this moment — The Denver Post — SAM TUMBLIN

Robertson keeps sticking around with Maple Leafs — Toronto Sun

Read More

Robertson keeps sticking around with Maple Leafs — Toronto Sun


Robertson keeps sticking around with Maple Leafs

Lance HornbyMore from Lance Hornby

Published:July 22, 2020

Updated:July 22, 2020 8:59 PM EDT

RELATED

Can the “wild card” find his way on to the lineup card?

You’ll hear nothing but superlatives from the Maple Leaf players about Nick Robertson, who praise the energy he has brought to camp as one of the first in the room and on the ice, the element of dash he adds to third liners Kasperi Kapanen and Alex Kerfoot, and a quick shot, even if it is a bit off target at times.

But the rank and file don’t determine the final roster. That’s coach Sheldon Keefe and general manager Kyle Dubas, and as much as they’ve featured the teen all week in the top nine forwards, the last two days in place of left winger Pierre Engvall, it’s not a done deal Robertson starts Game 1 a week Sunday against Columbus.

“Nick is the wild card in terms of what he can bring and how quickly he can adapt and adjust,” Keefe said Wednesday, following a late afternoon practice and scrimmage. “We have to be able to give him those opportunities to be able to see how quickly we can get him up to speed. I’ve seen some positive steps, for sure. Early on it was a little bit slower, but it seems the more experience and opportunity we’ve given him, he’s done well with it.”

Keefe did note Robertson’s hot shot, which produced 55 goals for the Peterborough Petes last year, has been muted here somewhat by bigger defencemen and forwards getting sticks and bodies in his way, not to mention the big-league goalies.

“The difference is that the soft spots are a lot tighter here and harder to find because gaps close that much quicker,” Keefe said. “You’re dealing with the best of the best in the NHL and in the last while here we’ve moved him up to be playing against a lot of our best and with some of our best, giving him that feel.”

Robertson was stopped by Jack Campbell on a penalty shot in Wednesday’s scrimmage game, in which no one scored in one intense stop-time period.

Jason Spezza reminisced about his first playoff action being the 2003 Eastern Conference final with the Ottawa Senators and what Robertson could inject here.

“I Black Aced the whole way through, came in for Games 5, 6 and 7, gave the team a little bit of jolt and created some excitement. A guy like Nick can do that. When you’re younger, you stay in the fight a little longer, you’re waiting for that moment and when you do, you’re really playing with house money and that’s what Nick probably has a chance to do for us.

“It’s great to have his enthusiasm. It’s helped drive camp and create competition which we like. He’s put himself in a good spot to show he can keep up.”

JACKET FITTING

The Blue Jackets have hinted about line juggling themselves, to employ more speed into their physical, defence-oriented lineup and take a page from the Leafs’ book. Thus it’s incumbent on Toronto to play better defence and not fall into the thought process they can score their way out of trouble.

“Entering a playoff series, you want to be completely prepared for an opponent, understand what they do well, and try to counter that,” said defenceman Morgan Rielly. “(But) you have to just kind of be who you are. If our teams looks around the room, we have to stick to our strengths.”

Mitch Marner will be among those shadowed relentlessly, especially when the Jackets have last line change in Games 3 and 4, if the best of five is extended.

“We have to be aware that they thrive off of turnovers and mistakes,” Marner said. “As a unit (he’s currently with Auston Matthews and Zach Hyman) we’ve talked about when the opportunity is there to make make a play, but not forcing anything and letting them live off the rush.”

PARTY AT AUSTON’S HOUSE

As expected, the offensively stacked Team Matthews won the best-of-five ‘House Divided’ series, though it took a John Tavares goal in overtime to eliminate goalie Frederick Andersen’s team in Game 4.

Keefe was please that both sides were back to playing a better brand of defence. The fifth game will be played Thursday anyway, designed to closely replicate an actual match with an eye to Tuesday night’s exhibition game against the Montreal Canadiens.

“Some of the execution perhaps wasn’t great, but the effort, pace and all those things were really good,” Keefe said of Wednesday. “The score stayed close, the benches were into it, there was some good energy that way and the goaltending on both sides was terrific, which allowed everything to be competitive. We got a lot of what we were hoping to get out of it today.”

LOOSE LEAFS

Before the scrimmage, defenceman Justin Holl was cut in the face and needed stitches. Keefe thinks he’ll be able to practice Thursday … Winger Andreas Johnsson, the only injured Leaf, came out to skate and test his surgically repaired knee, though Keefe has no time line for his return … Spezza, an old-school suit-and-tie man on game days, figures he’ll fall in with the majority of those planning a relaxed wardrobe with no dress code in the NHL bubble when the Leafs and seven other teams check in this Sunday. But he predicts if the Leafs win a game or two that the young stars who are planning some eye-catching threads for TV cameras will not want to change them, hockey players being a superstitious lot … Kapanen says hockey is “heading in the right direction” with allowing its players to show some fashion style and maybe win some new, younger fans. “The young guys like to be flashy, Willy (Nylander) and Matty, and let’s see if Mo (Rielly) comes up with something. The eyes are on all on us in Toronto and we can set an example that way. as long as it’s nothing too outrageous” … Kapanen has also come up with the Instagram nickname ‘Smash Bro’s’ for he and fourth liner Kyle Clifford. the Finn saying the former L.A. King has become an inspirational figure in a short while as a Leaf. “He’s had a great influence on the whole team. He’s a tough guy who works hard, been around the league a long time and won a couple of Cups. You see a guy play hard and fight every now and then it fires me up.”

lhornby@postmedia.com

Angels’ Mike Trout says ‘I’m playing’ despite coronavirus concerns — Press Telegram

ANAHEIM — Three weeks and zero outbreaks after Mike Trout showed up for Angels camp with some reluctance about playing the season, he seems to have been significantly comforted that it’s safe to play. “It’s been good so far,” Trout said on Wednesday, just two days before Friday’s opener. “Obviously, since the last time we…

Angels’ Mike Trout says ‘I’m playing’ despite coronavirus concerns — Press Telegram

Red Sox Wrap: Rain Shortens Boston’s Exhibition Game Vs. Blue Jays — NESN.com

Rain shortened the Boston Red Sox’s second and final exhibition game with the Toronto Blue Jays, but baseball was still played. The clubs got through just a few innings before inclimate weather forced them to call it after a short delay in the bottom of the 5th. Unfortunately, it was enough time for the Blue…

Red Sox Wrap: Rain Shortens Boston’s Exhibition Game Vs. Blue Jays — NESN.com

Anthony Rendon expected to miss first Opening Day with Angels — Press Telegram

ANAHEIM >> It looks like Anthony Rendon’s debut with the Angels won’t come on Opening Day. Rendon, who signed a seven-year, $245-million deal with the Angels in December, has been out for a week because of oblique tightness that is now expected to keep him out when the Angels open their season in Oakland on…

Anthony Rendon expected to miss first Opening Day with Angels — Press Telegram