AP NEWS

Tuesday’s Sports in Brief

April 29, 2020 GMT

BASEBALL

NEW YORK (AP) — Major League Baseball is exploring various options that could allow the season to start if the medical situation allows, including a plan in which the 30 teams might be split into three regional divisions.

Among the formats under consideration is one in which teams could be restricted to playing within their region, two people familiar with the discussions said Tuesday. The people spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because no public statements were authorized.

That plan, if used, would break up the traditional alignments of the American and National Leagues. It also would cut travel during the coronavirus pandemic.

MLB also has looked at configurations for all-Arizona, Arizona-and-Florida and Arizona-plus-Texas-plus-Florida locations, the people said. The latest plan was first reported by USA Today.

Another variation would have teams start in Arizona, Texas and Florida, playing in empty ballparks, and then if the health situation allows, switch later to their regular-season sites. If conditions improve later in the year, they possibly could start playing before fans with only a percentage of seats sold.

Opening day had been scheduled for March 26, but the new coronavirus caused MLB to delay the start to mid-May at the earliest.

Any plan would be subject to medical approval plus consent of federal, state and local authorities.

AUTO RACING

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — NASCAR can go forward with the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway without fans in attendance at the end of May unless health conditions deteriorate in the state, the governor of North Carolina said.

Gov. Roy Cooper said he and state public health officials have had discussions with NASCAR and the speedway located in Concord regarding safety protocols for staging the race. Cooper said the state offered input on NASCAR’s plan, but he believes the race can go forward on Memorial Day weekend for the 60th consecutive year.

NASCAR on Monday gave teams its latest revised schedule, which shows racing resuming May 17 at Darlington Raceway in South Carolina, followed by a second race at that track on May 20. The 600 would be held on May 24, followed by a second race at Charlotte on May 27.

Marcus Smith, president and CEO of North Carolina-based Speedway Motorsports, thanked Cooper for working with Charlotte Motor Speedway “to get NASCAR back on track with the Coca-Cola 600 on Memorial Day weekend where it belongs.”

Cooper last week extended North Carolina’s stay-at-home order through May 8. Most teams are based in the Charlotte area and are expected to return to work this week as essential businesses.

NFL

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The New Orleans Saints have agreed to terms on a one-year contract with unrestricted free agent quarterback Jameis Winston.

Winston, the first overall pick in the 2015 draft, will serve as the backup to Drew Brees.

Winston is coming off a season in which he led the NFL with 5,109 yards passing and ranked second with 33 touchdown passes, but he also led the NFL in interceptions with 30. That made Winston the first QB in NFL history to have at least 30 TDs and 30 interceptions. Tampa Bay allowed Winston to enter free agency and replaced him with former Patriots QB Tom Brady.

Winston was a two-year starter at Florida State, where he won the Heisman Trophy and led the Seminoles to a national title as a freshman in the 2013 season.

In five seasons with the Buccaneers, he has passed for 19,737 yards and 121 touchdowns while throwing 88 interceptions. But while he was productive statistically, that didn’t amount to winning. The Bucs went 28-42 in games Winston started.

BASKETBALL

NEW YORK (AP) — Nevada high school senior Daishen Nix has decommitted from UCLA and signed to play in the G League next season, joining fellow prep stars Jalen Green and Isaiah Todd in going pro.

G League president Shareef Abdur-Rahim said Tuesday the trio will play for a new team that won’t be affiliated with any existing G League franchise or NBA team. Details will be announced later.

Nix was named a McDonald’s All-American at Trinity International School in Las Vegas this season. The 6-foot-5 guard was ranked by ESPN as the top player in Nevada and 20th in the nation.

He had signed a national letter of intent with UCLA in November. Nix was UCLA coach Mick Cronin’s first signing since being named the Bruins’ coach in April 2019.

HOCKEY

The Boston Pride selected Boston University forward Sammy Davis with the first pick in the NWHL Draft.

The women’s professional hockey league is heading into its sixth season.

The Pride acquired the top pick from expansion Toronto in a trade hours earlier to get Davis. The 23-year-old hometown star had 17 goals and 24 assists for the Terriers this season.

Boston also received Toronto’s fifth-round pick this year in exchange for the Pride’s first-round selection this year, and their first- and second-round picks in 2021.

Clarkson forward Kayla Friesen was chosen No. 2 by the Connecticut Whale, and Maine goalie Carly Jackson went third to the Buffalo Beauts.

The Metropolitan Riveters took Yale defenseman Saroya Tiner at No. 4, followed by the Minnesota Whitecaps selecting Minnesota Golden Gophers forward Alex Woken. Toronto got Robert Morris forward Jaycee Gebhard as the franchise’s first draft pick to complete the first round.