Thursday Morning Sports Update


In exhibition baseball last night…
The Tigers dropped a 2-1 decision to Cincinnati. Detroit tied the game at one with a run in the top of the 9th, only to have the Reds score in the bottom of the inning to pull it out. Anthony Castro gave up that 9th inning game winning run in suffering the loss. Detroit opens the regular season tomorrow night at Cincinnati live on News-Talk-Sports 94.9 WSJM. Coverage begins at 5:45


The White Sox lost to Milwaukee 5-3. Nicky Delmonico hit a two run home run in the 7th to pull the Sox to within one, but they failed to score after that. Carlos Rodon gave up two runs in five innings in suffering the loss. The Sox open the regular season at home against Minnesota tomorrow night.


The Cubs got by Minnesota 4-3. Wilson Contreras homered twice for Chicago with Anthony Rizzo clearing the wall once in his return to the lineup. Jon Lester allowed one run on one hit over 4.1 innings but did not factor in the decision. Duane Underwood pitched a scoreless inning in relief in picking up the win. The Cubs open the regular season at home tomorrow night against Milwaukee.



This is the final year of Jordan Zimmermann’s contract with Detroit and also his last chance to make a good impression before free agency arrives again. Now that opportunity may be gone. After going on the 45-day injured list with an arm problem, his best-case scenario is to return for a bit at the very end of the season. This truncated 2020 campaign is also important for a number of other free-agents-to-be. Rick Porcello and Didi Gregorius have a lot to prove this year before they can return to the open market, and they don’t have a lot of time to showcase themselves.


The NCAA football oversight committee is asking the association’s Board of Governors to avoid making a decision later this week on whether to conduct fall sports championships. The board is scheduled to meet Friday as college sports leaders try to find a path to play during the pandemic. There has been speculation the board could decide to call off NCAA championship events in fall sports such as soccer, volleyball and lower-division football. That could increase pressure for conferences to cancel their seasons.


Mookie Betts has said yes to a huge contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers, while the state of Pennsylvania has said no to the Toronto Blue Jays. Betts and the Dodgers have struck baseball’s first big-money deal since the coronavirus pandemic decimated the sport’s economics. The 12-year, $365 million contract runs through 2032 and removes the top offensive player from next off-season’s free-agent class. His deal is baseball’s second-largest in total dollars behind the $426.5 million, 12-year contract for Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout covering 2019-2030.


Pennsylvania health officials won’t allow the Toronto Blue Jays to play at PNC Park in Pittsburgh amid the coronavirus pandemic. The state is the latest jurisdiction to say no to the team as the baseball season begins this week. The state’s secretary of health cited a significant increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in southwestern Pennsylvania as the reason to bar the Blue Jays from playing their home games in the Steel City. Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins said this week his team has more than five contingency plans for a home stadium and was in talks with other teams. He declined to name them. Atkins said if the Blue Jays can’t find a major league park, their Triple-A affiliate in Buffalo, New York, would be their most likely site for home games.


MLB players have the option of having a patch with “Black Lives Matter” or “United For Change” on a jersey sleeve on opening day of the pandemic-delayed season. Teams have the option of stenciling an inverted MLB logo with “BLM” or “United for Change” on the back of the pitcher’s mound during opening weekend games.


The Indiana Pacers will restart their season next week with uncertainty still swirling around guard Victor Oladipo. First, the two-time All-Star told team officials concerns about his surgically-repaired right knee would prevent him from playing in Orlando, Florida. Then last week, he backtracked — saying he might reconsider based on how things went in the lead up to the Aug. 1 game against Philadelphia. Coach Nate McMillan says he intends to use Oladipo in the team’s three scrimmage games and see how it goes.


The NHL is prohibiting teams from disclosing injuries as a way to maintain player privacy during the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s an even thicker veil of secrecy for a sport that already uses vague terms like upper- and lower-body injuries. Players asked for the nondisclosure policy to prevent individual coronavirus tests results coming to light. Saying nothing has led to rampant speculation when prominent players like Pittsburgh captain Sidney Crosby or Chicago goaltender Corey Crawford are missing from practice.


Bianca St. Georges and Rachel Hill scored early and the Chicago Red Stars held off determined Sky Blue 3-2 on Wednesday night to earn a spot in the Challenge Cup final. The Red Stars, who played last year in the National Women’s Soccer League championship game but fell to the North Carolina, will meet the Houston Dash on Sunday in the tournament’s title game.


Fox Sports has revealed that it will include computer-generated fans beginning with their three games on Saturday. Fox begins its coverage with Milwaukee at the Chicago Cubs. That will be followed by San Francisco at Los Angeles Dodgers and the New York Yankees at Washington. Fox may draw some jeers for adding fans to empty ballparks judging how fan opinions about crowd noise being added to baseball games have been mixed. But Fox Sports vice president Brad Zager is hoping that people give it a chance before making a definitive opinion.