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MLB

Few in Twins organization test positive for COVID-19

“A few” Minnesota Twins players and minor leaguers have tested positive for COVID-19 over the past several days, president of baseball operations Derek Falvey said Thursday. None were located in Minneapolis or the team’s spring headquarters in Fort Myers, Fla., but underwent testing after being in the vicinity of another person who tested positive.

Falvey, speaking on a video call with Twins reporters, did not name the players or specify the exact number, but said at least one is a member of the 60-man roster of players expected to report to Target Field by next Wednesday for preseason camp. Players who tested positive — more than one showed no symptoms of the virus — are now under quarantine and will not join the team until they pass MLB health protocols, which require two negative tests.

No non-playing staff members have tested positive to the team’s knowledge, Falvey said.

Several members of the Phillies, Blue Jays and Yankees have also tested positive in recent days, and training camps in Florida and Arizona have been closed by MLB until they can be thoroughly cleaned.

Sano cleared of charges: Twins infielder Miguel Sano will face no charges in the Dominican Republic after a lawyer in his hometown last week released a video accusing him of a kidnapping.

The lawyer, Odalis Ramos, posted a video June 16 accusing Sano and three friends of kidnapping Ramos’ client, Raudy Omar Sanchez de la Cruz, beating him and threatening to hang him on May 6.

Sano said he was being blackmailed. He told El Nuevo Diario that Sanchez de la Cruz was involved in a sexual assault of one of Sano’s relatives in San Pedro de Macoris.

A prosecutor heard evidence Thursday; the Twins confirmed there are no charges against Sano, who had accused the lawyer of requesting 10 million pesos ($170,000) to drop the accusations.

The 27-year-old Sano was an All-Star third baseman for the Twins in 2017 before slumping in 2018 and being sent to the minors. He rebounded last season with 34 home runs in 105 games as the Twins set a major league record with 307 home runs and won the American League Central Division title.

Sano signed a three-year, $30 million contract in the offseason. With the addition of free agent Josh Donaldson, Sano was set to move from third base to first base this season.

NHL

Wild begin voluntary workouts

More than 100 days have passed since the Wild last gathered for a practice, but Tria Rink in St. Paul is no longer idle.

The Wild officially began Phase 2 of the NHL’s return to play plan Wednesday, opening its practice facility for voluntary, small group workouts.

Sessions are closed to the public, but the team posted a video on social media of goalie Devan Dubnyk, defenseman Carson Soucy and forward Ryan Hartman on the ice.

Only players from the Wild are using Tria Rink, even though NHLers could request access to another team’s facility if it was near where they were staying during the shutdown. The NHL season has been paused since March 12 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

All players and staff allowed inside the facility were to undergo testing for COVID-19 before participating, and players also needed to have pre-participation medical evaluations. Players can skate in group of up 12 while remaining socially distant during workouts on and off the ice.

Other NHL teams have had their practice rinks in use for weeks since facilities were allowed to open June 8. Since then, 11 out of 200-plus players have tested positive, the NHL said. Last week, Tampa Bay had to close its facilities after three players and additional staff members tested positive. The Lightning reportedly reopened its training sites Wednesday.

Wild training camp is scheduled to begin July 10 at Tria if the league and the players agree to restart the season. The sides need to finalize the protocols for camp and the remaining games. Already they’ve agreed to a 24-team format in two hub cities that kicks off with round-robin play for the top four teams from each conference and a best-of-five, play-in series for everyone else. Once down to 16 teams, a traditional four-round, best-of-seven playoffs will ensue for the Stanley Cup.

The Wild is set to face off against the Vancouver Canucks in the qualifying round.

If the NHL and NHL Players’ Association can reach an agreement in time to begin training camp as scheduled, the season could resume by the end of July.

MLS

Loons opening July 12

Minnesota United’s opening schedule for the MLS is Back Tournament in Orlando, Fla., was revealed Wednesday.

The Loons announced they will play three night games on ESPN/ESPN Deportes: vs. Sporting Kansas City at 7 p.m. July 12, followed Real Salt Lake at 9:30 p.m. July 17 and then Colorado Rapids at 9:30 p.m. July 22.

If United FC finishes first or second among these Western Conference foes in Group D, they will advance to the round of 16 from July 25-28. If they are among the three best third-place finishers, they also will continue playing in the league-wide tournament that runs through mid-August.

MLS clubs can start arriving at the Swan and Dolphin Hotel in central Florida this week for games at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports complex starting July 8. It’s unclear when the Loons will head to Florida; they have to be there by July 1.

On Tuesday, United said they have zero positive tests for COVID-19 in their return to full-team training at the National Sports Center in Blaine.

Meanwhile, the Rapids said Wednesday that one of their players has tested positive for the coronavirus on Tuesday and they have temporarily suspended training sessions. Colorado joins Inter Miami and Atlanta United in reporting positive tests within MLS.

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