Nationals catcher Tres Barrera banned 80 games for drug test
UNDATED (AP) — Washington Nationals catcher Tres Barrera has been suspended for 80 games without pay by Major League Baseball after testing positive for an anabolic steroid.
MLB says Barrera tested positive for the performance-enhancing substance DHCMT, the chemical compound used in a drug that fueled Olympic athletes in the former East Germany decades ago.
Barrera said Saturday that he appealed his suspension but it was upheld by an arbitrator. The 25-year-old made his major league debut last September.
His suspension is another element in a turbulent opening to Washington’s defense of its 2019 World Series championship. Hours before the Nationals lost their rain-shortened opener of the pandemic-delayed season to the New York Yankees 4-1 on Thursday night, star slugger Juan Soto was put on the COVID-19 injured list because he tested positive for the coronavirus.
In other MLB news:
— Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw’s back issue that forced him to miss his opening day start is improving and he hopes to return soon. Manager Dave Roberts said Friday that Kershaw had an MRI after tweaking his back three days earlier. It showed no structural damage. Kershaw gave no timetable for his return. The three-time NL Cy Young Award winner has been receiving treatment daily.
— Right-hander Taijuan Walker will be back on the mound for the Seattle Mariners today in Houston after two injury-plagued seasons with the Arizona Diamondbacks. Walker missed most of the 2018 season after having Tommy John surgery and had various setbacks that limited him to just one inning in 2019. Astros righty Lance McCullers will make his first start since 2018 after missing last season following Tommy John surgery.
— Royals right-hander Brady Singer is expected to make his MLB debut today at Cleveland. The 23-year-old was the No. 18 overall pick in 2018 after a stellar college career at Florida. He pitched well in summer camp and earned the spot after starters Brad Keller and Jakob Junis tested positive for the coronavirus. The rookie will face righty Mike Clevinger, who is 9-0 in his career against Kansas City.
— The pandemic-delayed Major League Baseball opener was a hit on television. The Nationals-Yankees game on ESPN was the most-watched regular season game in baseball on any network in nine years. It averaged 4 million viewers according to Nielsen fast national ratings and peaked at 8:30 p.m. EDT with 4.48 million viewers. No regular season game had been viewed by that many since 4.7 million watched Boston beat the Yankees 3-2 in 10 innings on Aug. 7, 2011. That game was also on ESPN.
Chiefs’ Duvernay-Tardif first to opt out of 2020 NFL season
UNDATED (AP) — Kansas City offensive lineman Laurent Duvernay-Tardif is the first player to announce he is opting out of the upcoming NFL season. The 29-year-old is choosing to put his medical degree to use on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic rather than helping the Chiefs defend their first Super Bowl title in 50 years.
Duvernay-Tardif has been working to fulfill his requirements to become a doctor in the offseason, and has spent this summer working at a clinic in his native Canada. He said that experience helped him decide that if he was going to take any risks with his health, it would be to help patients dealing with the virus.
In his announcement on Twitter Friday, Duvernay-Tardif said it was “one of the most difficult decisions I have had to make in my life,” but that he must follow his convictions.
The NFL and its players association agreed Friday to an opt-out clause for the upcoming season. Two people with knowledge of the decisions told The Associated Press that those who opt out voluntarily will receive a $150,000 stipend and those with medical opt outs will receive $350,00 rather than their contractual salary.
The deadline to opt out is Aug. 3.
In other NFL news:
— Alex Smith could move one step closer to returning to the football field after a gruesome injury. A team spokesman says the Washington quarterback is set to take a physical with a team doctor on Monday that he must pass before being cleared for football activities. The 36-year-old Smith hasn’t played since November 2018 when he broke the tibia and fibula in his right leg. He underwent multiple surgeries and has worked to get back to game action. Washington expects 2019 first-round pick Dwayne Haskins and former Carolina QB Kyle Allen to compete for the starting job this season under new coach Ron Rivera.
— The Minnesota Vikings signed head coach Mike Zimmer to a three-year contract extension through the 2023 season, finalizing a key piece of business Friday before the beginning of training camp. The deal was agreed to earlier in the week.. Zimmer has a 57-38-1 record over six years. It is the third-best winning percentage of the nine head coaches the Vikings franchise has had over 59 seasons. The 64-year-old Zimmer trails Bud Grant and Dennis Green on the team list.
— Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson and his pop star wife Ciara are now parents to a baby boy. The couple announced Friday the birth of their son named Win Harrison Wilson on Instagram. They both shared from their accounts that their son was born Thursday and weighed just over 8 pounds. Ciara posted video footage from the hospital of her holding her baby while in bed shortly after his birth. The singer sang “Happy Birthday” to him while sporting a black mask.