3 SPORTS SATURDAY, AUGUST 1, 2020 | | THE BALTIMORE SUN SPORTS NBA Associated Press General manager Ross Atkins says life has been difficult for the vagabond Blue Jays at the beginning of a baseball season like no other. The Blue Jays haven’t had a real home game yet, and still don’t have a stadium fit to host them. They played twice as the home team at Nationals Park in Washington this week. They were supposed to do the same in Philadelphia this weekend until those games were postponed after a Phillies coach and clubhouse staffer tested positive for the coronavirus. “It’s not easy,” Atkins said on a video conference Friday. “If you put yourself in the shoes of someone who’s trying to be the best in the world at something, they have routines that are very important.” Once upgrades are complete, the Blue Jays will play at Sahlen Field in Buffalo, N.Y., usually the home park of the Blue Jays’ Triple-A team. Workers are racing to install new lighting, improve the field, expand the clubhouses, and build outdoor batting cages, mounds, and workout areas on stadium concourses. The Blue Jays’ first game in Buffalo is set for Aug. 11 against the Marlins, who have been idled until Sunday because of an outbreak on the team. All-Star closer Aroldis Chapman has been cleared to return to Yankee Stadium following a bout with the coronavirus and was expected to play catch Friday before the Yankees hosted the Red Sox. Yankees manager Aaron Boone confirmed Chapman’s return and said he wasn’t sure when the hard-throwing left-hander would be ready for game action. “The good thing was he was never really sick, so he was able to maintain probably a level of physical conditioning that other people may not have been able to,” Boone said. Chapman had been isolating in his Manhattan apartment since his positive test July 11. He was waiting to register consecutive negative tests. His symptoms were mild. Right-hander Tommy Kahnle was added to the injured list with forearm tightness. He had an MRI taken Friday and was scheduled to visit team physician Dr. Christopher Ahmad. Chapman back: With six teams idled Friday by the COVID-19 pandemic, Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred spoke to union leader Tony Clark about the importance of players following the sport’s coronavirus protocols. Manfred and Clark talked about what needs to be done to finish the season, a person familiar with the conversation said. The person who spoke to AP on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation. The conversation between Manfred and Clark, first reported by ESPN, comes amid growing evidence that the spread of infection threatens to overtake efforts to play ball. “Some things aren’t looking too good right now, but we have to play up to that point. Players are seeing what can happen,” Astros manager Dusty Baker said. “The rest now is up to us and the virus,” he said. Concerns have been expressed about lax behavior by players on the field — such as spitting or high-fives — and off. The scrambled schedule has also heightened doubts about whether the owners’ desire to play is realistic. Clark, Manfred speak: 1⁄ 2 MLB.com reported Dodgers LHP Clayton Kershaw (back) will be activated off the injured list to start Sunday against the Diamondbacks in Arizona, according to manager Dave Roberts. ... Aaron Judge homered for the third straight night as the Yankees beat the Red Sox 5-1 in their home opener. ... Nationals reliever Will Harris was put on the 10-day injured list with a strained right groin. The move is retroactive to Wednesday, the day after Harris last pitched, giving up two unearned runs in the eighth inning of a 5-1 loss to the Blue Jays. The 35-year-old right-hander signed a three-year, $24 million, contract after losing the World Series to the Nationals while with his previous team, the Astros. ... Mets manager Luis Rojas won’t say if the next outing for reliever Edwin Diaz will come in a save situation. Diaz’s role as the Mets’ closer is being watched closely for the second straight season after he walked two batters, hit a batter and gave up a run while recording only one out in Thursday night’s 4-2 loss to the Red Sox. ... Travis d’Arnaud’s 3-run double capped a five-run eighth as the Braves rallied to beat the Mets 11-10. ... Spencer Turnbull, who was 3-17 last season, and three relievers combined on a three-hitter as the Tigers beat the Reds 7-2. ... The Cubs signed former Indians closer Cody Allen to a minor-league deal and assigned him to the team’s training site in South Bend, Ind. ... The White Sox promoted 2B Nick Madrigal, adding one of their top prospects to the roster and designed veteran RHP Kelvin Herrera for assignment. Extra innings:
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