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MLB games to start July 23-24…Canada open to MLB

NEW YORK (AP) — Major League Baseball has issued a 60-game schedule that will start July 23 or 24 in empty ballparks as the sport tries to push ahead amid the coronavirus following months of acrimony. This will be MLB’s shortest season since 1878. Each team will play 10 games against each of its four division rivals and four games against each of the five clubs in the corresponding division in the other league, according to details obtained by The Associated Press. The sides expanded the designated hitter to games involving National League teams and will start extra innings with a runner on second base.

TORONTO (AP) — The Canadian government is open to Major League Baseball playing in Toronto this summer, but the league has not submitted the required plan to Canadian authorities. A senior federal government official says if MLB were to submit an acceptable restart plan to the government, an exemption letter similar to the one provided to the NHL could be provided. Ontario’s chief medical officer also says Major League Baseball hasn’t submitted a plan to local health authorities that is needed for the Blue Jays to play in Toronto amid the pandemic.

St. PETERSBURH, FL. (AP) — The Tampa Bay Rays have reached terms with first-round draft pick Nick Bitsko, giving the Pennsylvania high school pitcher a $3 million signing bonus. The 18-year-old right-hander was the 24th overall selection after going 4-2 with a 1.27 ERA and 68 strikeouts in two seasons at Central Bucks East High. Several months after announcing plans to graduate a year early, Bitsko’s final prep season was canceled this spring due to the coronavirus pandemic.

UNDATED (AP) — A federal judge has denied a request by American women’s soccer players to allow an immediate appeal of his decision to throw out their claim of unequal pay against the U.S. Soccer Federation. U.S. District Judge R. Gary Klausner in Los Angeles has scheduled a trial for Sept. 15 on the players’ remaining claim of discriminatory work conditions. Lawyers for the women had asked him to enter a final judgment on his decision to dismiss the pay claim, which would have allowed them to take the case to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco.

UNDATED (AP) — The rope found hanging in Bubba Wallace’s garage at Talladega Superspeedway was not a hate crime. Federal authorities say the rope had been hanging at the Alabama track since at least October. Video evidence showed it had been hanging from the garage door but was the only one fashioned as a noose. Wallace coincidentally was assigned that garage. NASCAR stood by its decision to investigate the discovery found in the stall of its only Black driver. Wallace successfully called for a ban of the Confederate flag and has become an activist for the sport during a push for racial equality.

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