Thursday Morning Sports Report


The Detroit Tigers today announced that they have agreed to terms with third round pick Trei Cruz, a shortstop from Rice University, and fifth round pick Colt Keith, a third baseman from Biloxi High School in Mississippi.
Cruz, 21, appeared in 131 games over his three seasons at Rice University, hitting .296/.406/.484 with 31 doubles, eight triples, 16 home runs and 97 RBI. The 6-2, 195 pound shortstop earned second team All-Conference USA honors as a sophomore in 2019 and was named a freshman All-American by Collegiate Baseball in 2018. He was also selected to the Conference USA All-Freshman Team.
During his junior season in 2020, Cruz hit .328/.487/.500 with seven doubles, one home run and eight RBI. He led the Owls in on-base percentage, doubles, runs scored (9), RBI and walks (18).
Keith, 18, was named Mississippi’s Gatorade Player of the Year in 2019 after hitting .527 as a junior at Biloxi High School. The 6-3, 210 pound third baseman was also named a second team high school All-American by Collegiate Baseball. Keith participated in Major League Baseball’s Prospect Development Pipeline in 2019, playing in eight games with “Team Jeter.” Keith was selected a 2020 preseason All-American and to the preseason Southeast All-Region first team by Perfect Game.


Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred and union head Tony Clark reached a framework that could lead to an agreement that would start the Major League Baseball season on July 19 or July 20. Manfred flew to meet with Clark and worked out the framework at a Scottsdale hotel.
Each team would play 60 games, and players would get full prorated pay, about 37% of their salary. The wild-card round would expand from two games to eight best-of-three series this year. The designated hitter would be used in all games for the first time.


Major league players have committed $1 million to support minor leaguers whose leagues appear unlikely to start this year because of the coronavirus pandemic. MLB and the union are trying to reach an agreement to start the big-league season in empty ballparks, but minor leagues don’t have large broadcast contracts and have not announced any plans to take the field.


The rate of positive coronavirus tests in the Orlando, Florida, area has been soaring in recent days. The NBA hopes that doesn’t matter. After spending weeks putting together an elaborate series of health and safety protocols, the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association believe they have done what is necessary to keep the 22 teams and others who will be part of the season restart at the Disney campus near Orlando next month safe and healthy.


NHL players won’t be expected to wear full face shields if games resume this summer amid the coronavirus pandemic. Negotiations between league and NHL Players’ Association have focused on testing and other off-ice safety precautions. Because players are expected to be tested daily, there isn’t expected to be additional on-ice equipment required for practices and games.


Federal investigators say the pilot of the helicopter that crashed in thick fog, killing Kobe Bryant and seven other passengers, reported he was climbing when he was actually descending.
The National Transportation Safety Board said Wednesday that Ara Zobayan’s last transmission said he was climbing to 4,000 feet to get above clouds. But he actually was in a rapid descent into a hillside northwest of Los Angeles. The report confirms initial findings that the helicopter was functioning.
The report said he may have “misperceived” the pitch of the aircraft, which can happen when a pilot becomes disoriented in low visibility. Experts have said the path of the flight indicated he was disoriented.
The 1,700 pages of the report do not offer a conclusion of what caused the crash but compile factual reports. A final report on the cause is due later.