Big league managers said Wednesday Major League Baseball instructed them to prepare for spring training to start on time in mid-February despite uncertainty around the coronavirus. Tampa Bay Rays manager Kevin Cash said Wednesday that Commissioner Rob Manfred had a meeting with managers Tuesday and expressed optimism about opening spring camps as scheduled … Longtime major league shortstop Omar Vizquel denied accusations of domestic abuse made by his wife after she described two alleged acts of physical violence by the 11-time Gold Glove winner in a story published by The Athletic … Righthander Anthony DeSclafani signed a $6 million, one-year contract with the San Francisco Giants, giving the club a veteran option for the rotation. In his sixth season with the Reds, DeSclafani went 1-2 with a 7.22 ERA over nine games — seven starts — spanning 33⅔ innings in 2020 … The Tampa Bay Rays and catcher Mike Zunino agreed to a one-year contract that guarantees $3 million, a deal that includes a club option and could be worth $9 million over two seasons. Zunino’s contract includes a $2 million salary for 2021 and a $4 million option with a $1 million buyout. The option price could escalate to $7 million. Zunino appeared in 28 games, including 25 starts, for Tampa Bay in 2020 and is considered a solid defender and has significant power but has struggled to make contact. He hit .147 with four homers and 10 RBIs in 2020 … Lefthander Alex Claudio agreed to a one-year, $1.125 million contract with the Los Angeles Angels, adding the sidearm reliever to their bullpen makeover. Claudio has appeared in 239 games over the past four seasons with Texas and Milwaukee, third most by a pitcher in the majors during that stretch. He led the sport in 2019 with 83 appearances for the Brewers, tying their franchise record …The Seattle Mariners continued their bullpen overhaul by signing righthanded reliever Keynan Middleton. The 27-year-old appeared in 13 games last season with the Los Angeles Angels as he continued to work his way back from the Tommy John surgery he underwent during the 2018 season. Middleton has appeared in just 24 major league games over the past two seasons. Middleton was 0-1 with a 5.25 ERA last season.
Syracuse holds off Northeastern
Northeastern freshman Jahmyl Telfort scored a season-high 16 points, but host Syracuse (5-1) held off the shorthanded Huskies, 62-56. Northeastern (1-2) was without starting point guard Tyson Walker for most of the second half. He was helped off the court after appearing to hit his head on the court and did not return. He was averaging a team-high 24.5 points per game, and scored 7 against the Orange. Joseph Girard III scored 21 points, Quincy Guerrier had 18 points and a career-high 16 rebounds for Syracuse. Girard’s steal and fast-break layup, followed by a free throw, gave Syracuse a 60-53 lead with 1:49 remaining. Neither team made another field goal the rest of the way, and Kadary Richmond capped it by hitting two free throws with 20 seconds left. Buddy Boeheim and Alan Griffin, Syracuse’s top two scoring leaders coming in, were held to a combined 2 points …Tre Mitchell had a career-high 37 points as UMass (2-1) beat La Salle, 85-66, in an Atlantic 10 Conference opener for both teams in Philadelphia.…Virginia Tech’s football team ended the nation’s longest bowl streak at 27 years. Hokies coach Justin Fuente said the players decided to bypass postseason, ending their pandemic-hit season at 5-6.
Supreme Court to hear NCAA appeal
The US Supreme Court agreed to hear a bid by the National Collegiate Athletic Association to defend its limits on education-related compensation for college basketball and football players. The justices took up an appeal by the NCAA of a May decision by the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that deemed the organization’s rules anticompetitive under a federal law called the Sherman Antitrust Act … Michigan Lawmakers gave final approval to bills that would clear the way for college athletes to be paid for the use of their names, images or likeness rights — putting Michigan on the cusp of becoming at least the fourth state with such a law … The NCAA Division I Council voted to grant a blanket waiver allowing all Division I transfers to play immediately this year. The waiver covers all Division I sports, and the most immediate impact will be felt in men’s college basketball, in which a number of notable players will be able to suit up immediately.
Australian Open delayed
The Australian Open tennis championships are set to begin Feb. 8, three weeks later than planned, as part of a pandemic-altered 2021 tennis calendar released by the men’s professional tour. The ATP said that men’s qualifying for the season’s first Grand Slam tournament is being moved to Doha, Qatar, from Jan. 10-13 … The NBA said that only one new case of coronavirus was found in test results from 549 players taken since Dec. 10. The league now has reported 57 player positive tests since the week preceding the start of training camps. Of those, 48 came in the first week of testing, followed by eight the following week and now one more …The Minnesota Wild signed goalie Andrew Hammond to a one-year, two-way contract, adding insurance at the position in light of a long-term injury for Alex Stalock. The Wild announced Stalock, who took over as their primary goalie down the stretch last season, has an upper-body injury that will sideline him indefinitely … The Chicago Blackhawks shuffled their front office, elevating general manager Stan Bowman to president of hockey operations and hiring Jaime Faulkner as president of business operations. Danny Wirtz — chairman Rocky Wirtz’s son — becomes chief operating officer after serving as interim president following the firing of John McDonough in April. The Blackhawks are splitting McDonough’s job in two …Colombian track cycling star Fabian Puerta, the 2018 keirin world champion and a medal favorite at next year’s Tokyo Olympics, was given a four-year suspension after testing positive for the banned substance boldenone … Four-time African badminton champion Kate Foo Kune was banned for two years in a doping case and will miss the Tokyo Olympics. Foo Kune was the flag bearer for Mauritius at the opening ceremony for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.