Update on the latest sports
Former MLB All-Star, GM and executive Bob Watson dead at 74
UNDATED (AP) — Bob Watson, a two-time All-Star as a player who later became the first black general manager to win a World Series with the New York Yankees in 1996, has died. He was 74.
The Houston Astros, for whom Watson played his first 14 major league seasons, announced the death Thursday night.
Watson's son Keith said he died from kidney disease.
Watson was nicknamed "The Bull" and made the All-Star team in 1973 and '75, hit over .300 four times and drove in at least 100 runs twice. He also holds the distinction of scoring the 1 millionth run in major league history.
MLBPA wants financial documents from owners
NEW YORK (AP) — Major League Baseball players want to look at the owners' books.
A person familiar with the request told The Associated Press that lawyers for the baseball players' union asked MLB to submit a slew of financial documents that detail the industry's finances.
Baseball owners on Monday approved a proposal that could lead to the coronavirus-delayed season starting around the Fourth of July with a regular-season schedule of about 82 games. Owners also gave the go-ahead to propose basing players' salaries on a 50-50 revenue split, which the union says is a salary cap and a framework that players will never accept.
The type of financial disclosure the union asked for is more common during overall collective bargaining talks.
Commissioner Rob Manfred is confident of reaching a deal with players. He also told CNN on Thursday that he's hopeful the season can begin, saying they are making plans to play in empty ballparks.
Rays' Snell says he won't take another pay cut
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — A former Cy Young Award winner is balking.
Tampa Bay Rays ace Blake Snell says he won't take the mound this year if his pay is cut further. He also has health concerns as Major League Baseball tries to salvage a season that has been delayed by the coronavirus pandemic.
Snell says he should receive the money he signed for and not 50% because the season is being cut in half. Snell would get $43,210 for each day of the schedule under the March 26 agreement between Major League Baseball and the players' association.
Snell was slated to make $7 million this season, part of a five-year, $50 million package he accepted in February 2019.
Snell won the American League Cy Young Award in 2018 after going 21-5 with a circuit-leading 1.86 ERA. Injuries limited him to 23 starts last year as he went 6-8 with a 4.29 earned run average.
Art Howe battling coronavirus
HOUSTON (AP) — Former major league manager and infielder Art Howe is in intensive care in a Houston hospital with the coronavirus.
The 73-year-old Howe confirmed to Houston TV station KPRC 2 Thursday night that he has been dealing with the illness since first feeling symptoms of COVID-19 on May 3.
Howe is best known as the manager of the "Moneyball" Oakland Athletics playoff teams in the late 1990s and early 2000s, winning 600 games over seven seasons. He also managed the Astros and Mets before ending his managerial career 1,129-1,137.
Keselowski takes Darlington pole in lottery
UNDATED (AP) — Brad Keselowski has won the pole for Sunday's race at Darlington Raceway without burning an ounce of fuel.
The Team Penske driver watched NASCAR's chief scorer Kyle McKinney finally pluck the No. 1 ball out of a random draw, giving the 2012 series champion the top starting position when the Cup season resumes.
Keselowski will be joined on the front row by Alex Bowman of Hendrick Motorsports. Matt DiBenedetto, Kyle Busch and Aric Almirola close out the top five starting spots.
Series officials split the drivers into three groups of 12 based on points, filling spots 1-12, 13-24 and 25-36 with a random draw.
NASCAR plans to race its way through the South in June
UNDATED (AP) — It will be a summer in the South for NASCAR. The stock car series says it will stick to Tennessee, Georgia, Virginia, Florida and Alabama for June races, all without fans.
NASCAR has now set plans for 20 races, including nine in the elite Cup Series. It is coming back after being shut down for more than two months by the pandemic.
The Cup Series resumes this Sunday at Darlington Raceway and run four times in 11 days at the South Carolina track and at Charlotte Motor Speedway in North Carolina. Then NASCAR will go to Bristol, Martinsville, Atlanta, Homestead and Talladega.
In other developments related to the coronavirus pandemic:
— The Cincinnati Reds are laying off less than 25% of their staff and reducing pay for others on June 1 in response to the pandemic. Cincinnati was among the majority of teams that committed to paying full-time employees through May. The move comes a day after The Associated Press was told the Miami Marlins are furloughing 90 to 100 baseball operations employees beginning June 1.
— The PGA Tour Champions has decided to combine 2020 and 2021 into one season. Tour president Miller Brady says combining two seasons into one is the best solution. The 50-and-older circuit already has canceled eight tournaments because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The tour is scheduled to resume with the Ally Challenge in Michigan on July 31. That would be the first of 13 events remaining this year, barring any delays. The PGA Tour Champions already has lost two majors, the U.S. Senior Open and the Senior PGA Championship, and is waiting to hear the fate of the Senior British Open.
— NBC's on-air sports personalities are taking a pay cut ranging from 5-10% through the rest of the year because of the coronavirus pandemic. NBC Sports Group President Pete Bevacqua says the pay cuts are voluntary. NBCUniversal executives are taking 20% pay cuts and those making more than $100,000 are seeing a 3% salary reduction.
— ACC commissioner John Swofford says the league expects to distribute 98% of its projected revenues to member schools for this school year despite the shutdown of college sports amid the coronavirus pandemic. The NCAA announced in March that it would distribute $225 million in June to 350 Division I schools after the cancellation of its men's basketball tournament, much less than the original plan of $600 million. But Swofford said the league has offset some losses in savings for canceled championship events as well as less travel and other expenses.
— Orlando is the latest NBA team to reopen its practice facility since the coronavirus shutdown, with Nikola Vucevic (VOOCH'-uh-vihch) among the first Magic players to arrive back for voluntary workouts Thursday. The Magic released video of Vucevic working with assistant coach Lionel Chalmers, who was in a mask and gloves for the session. The NBA requires anyone who is present for the workouts, except for the player while he is working out, to be wearing personal protective equipment.
— West Virginia University president E. Gordon Gee is vowing that the Mountaineers will play football this fall. Despite uncertainly around the coronavirus pandemic, all Big 12 schools, including West Virginia, plan to open campuses for the fall semester, a key step toward launching fall sports. Gee joked in a radio interview that he would "suit up" if it meant the Mountaineers would play.
— The IOC has set aside $800 million for loans and payments arising from the pandemic that forced the 2020 Tokyo Olympics to be postponed. It is still unclear how big the total postponement bill will be with Olympic organizers and public authorities in Japan facing extra costs estimated to run into billions for the one-year postponement. A sum of $150 million is for loans to sports governing bodies and more than 200 eligible national Olympic committees. The IOC is working on how to allocate the other $650 million.
— Major League Soccer is extending a league-wide moratorium on group and team training through June 1. Players are permitted to use outdoor team training fields for voluntary individual workouts, in compliance with local health authorities and government orders that were created in consultation with medical and infectious disease experts. Team training facilities remain closed to all players except those requiring medical treatment or rehabilitation.
— The English Premier League has received government backing to resume next month if games become more accessible to fans and the world's richest soccer competition provides financial support across the English game. The top division is the most advanced in its planning to restart amid concerns the three other professional football leagues in England could lack the funding to resume without ticket revenue from supporters. Mass gatherings are still banned and fans are not allowed to attend sports events.
— The German soccer federation has delayed the restart of the men's third-division because it doesn't have political approval. The third division was scheduled to resume on May 26 amid the coronavirus pandemic but the federation says that can't happen without the go-ahead from authorities around the country. Games in the first and second divisions will resume Saturday. The third division still has 11 rounds of games to play.
— The German Football League has relaxed its stance on finishing the season by June 30, when some players' contracts expire. Games could continue into July if the alternative is leaving the season unfinished at the end of June, it said in a statement. Some games could be moved to neutral venues if they can't be played at the original stadium because of infection risks locally. The league delayed a decision on how to decide final standings if the season can't be finished.
— The Italian soccer federation has set up a pool of inspectors to check that teams comply with new health protocols and government decrees issued during the coronavirus pandemic. Serie A teams were permitted to resume individual training on May 4 while full team training can restart Monday. Lazio has reportedly already been training in groups of three players. The federation says inspectors will verify that practices are held according to the rules. The league said on Wednesday that it hopes to resume playing games on June 13 but the government has not approved a restart yet.
Two NFL players accused of armed robbery
MIAMI (AP) — Authorities say police in South Florida are trying to find New York Giants cornerback DeAndre Baker and Seattle Seahawks cornerback Quinton Dunbar after multiple witnesses accused them of an armed robbery at a party.
Miramar police issued arrest warrants for both men Thursday on four counts each of armed robbery with a firearm. Baker faces an additional four counts of aggravated assault with a firearm. The warrant says Baker and Dunbar were attending a cookout at a Miramar home Wednesday night when a fight broke out, causing Baker to pull out a handgun.
Coyotes part ways with CEO Ahron Cohen
UNDATED (AP) — The Arizona Coyotes confirmed Thursday that they are parting ways with president and CEO Ahron Cohen.
Cohen has been with the Coyotes since being hired in 2015 as chief operating officer and chief legal officer by previous owner Andrew Barroway. Cohen was named president and CEO in 2017 after Steve Patterson stepped back to serve as a consultant and adviser after a year on the job.
The Coyotes were still in contention for a Western Conference playoff spot when the NHL season was put on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic.
In other NHL news:
— Penguins forward Dominik Simon is out six to seventh months after undergoing surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder. Simon initially hurt the shoulder in a loss to the San Jose Sharks on Feb. 29 and underwent surgery on April 29. The procedure would preclude Simon from returning if the 2019-2020 NHL season resumes. The league is currently on "pause" due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The 25-year-old Simon had seven goals and 15 assists in 64 games this season for Pittsburgh.
Olympic basketball qualifying for Tokyo Games rescheduled
UNDATED (AP) — FIBA (FEE'-bah) says the final four men's basketball spots in the 12-nation field for the Tokyo Olympics will be decided next summer.
FIBA has pushed back the dates for the four remaining qualifying tournaments to June 29 through July 4, 2021, meaning they would end 19 days before the rescheduled start of the delayed Tokyo Olympics.
But it remains unclear if those final spots will be earned while an NBA season is happening or if NBA players will be able to take part.
Extra innings: Baseball head pitches Olympics to MLB, again
ROME (AP) — The president of the World Baseball Softball Confederation is making one final pitch to Major League Baseball to send its top stars to the Tokyo Olympics.
Riccardo Fraccari sees the one-year postponement of the games as a new opportunity for MLB. He tells The Associated Press that because of the damages from the coronavirus "baseball needs the Olympics now more than ever to boost the sport's globalization, expansion and mass appeal."
MLB and its players' association have so far only agreed to allow players not on 26-man active rosters or injured lists to take part in Olympic qualifying.
PGA Championship returns to Charlotte's Quail Hollow in 2025
PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. (AP) — The PGA Championship will return to Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, North Carolina, in May 2025.
Quail Hollow hosted the PGA Championship in 2017, when a 24-year-old Justin Thomas defeated Francesco Molinari, Louis Oosthuizen (WUHST'-hy-zehn) and Patrick Reed by two shots to claim his first major championship.
PGA officials raved about the 2017 event and strongly hinted at the time they'd like to see the PGA Championship return to Charlotte due to strong attendance numbers.
This year's PGA Championship was rescheduled for Aug. 3-9 at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco because of the coronavirus pandemic.