Tuesday Sports in Brief

NCAA

CHICAGO (AP) — The Chicago State University men’s basketball team will not travel for two regularly scheduled Western Athletic Conference games this week, and its women’s team will not host two games, the school said late Tuesday, citing the spread of the coronavirus.

The school said in a statement that it was making the move with the “health and well-being of the campus community in mind.”

The cancellations are believed to be the first by a major sport in the United States due to the virus.

The university said the men’s team would not travel to Seattle University in Washington or Utah Valley University for WAC games on Thursday and Saturday. The school also said the women’s team would not host Seattle or Utah Valley at the campus’ Jones Convocation Center on the same days.

“Chicago State athletics views our decision as a reaffirmation of our commitment to the well-being, health and safety of our student athletes,” Chicago State athletic director Elliott Charles said in the statement.

MLB

Arbitrator Mark Irvings accepted Theo Epstein’s rationale for delaying Kris Bryant’s debut at the start of the 2015 season, concluding there was no proof of “a nefarious motive” by the Chicago Cubs president of baseball operations to delay the third baseman’s eligibility for free agency.

In a 42-page decision obtained by The Associated Press, Irvings accepted Epstein’s explanation that injuries to Mike Olt and Tommy La Stella prompted the timing of Bryant’s call-up to the Cubs in April 2015. Had Bryant been brought up one day earlier, he would have been eligible for free agency after the 2020 season. Instead, he will be eligible after the 2021 season.

Hearings were held last Oct. 21-23, with a final day on Nov. 6. Irvings issued his decision to the parties on Feb. 4, but it was not made public.

Now a three-time All-Star third baseman, Bryant hit .425 with nine homers in 40 at-bats during spring training in 2015. Hampered by a sore shoulder, he made three errors in eight games, a factor cited by Epstein as among the reasons for having Bryant start the season at Triple-A Iowa.

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Injured Yankees outfielders Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton are likely to miss New York’s opener at Baltimore on March 26.

Judge is having more tests to determine the cause of soreness in the right pectoral area near his shoulder. Judge has not hit on the field since spring training started, and the right fielder felt discomfort Friday when he took batting practice for the second straight day in an indoor cage.

Stanton strained his right calf on Feb. 26 during defensive drills. Cashman thinks Stanton will be back in April.

FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP) — Boston Red Sox starter Chris Sale has soreness in his throwing elbow and has undergone an MRI, the team announced two days after the 30-year-old left-hander faced batters for the first time this spring.

Manager Ron Roenicke said Sale felt the soreness in his elbow Monday morning, the day after his 18-pitch batting practice session. Team doctors reviewed the MRI results and sent them to Dr. James Andrews.

Sale’s batting practice session Sunday was the first time he faced hitters since he gave up five runs over 6 2/3 innings in a win at Cleveland on Aug. 13. He went on the injured list with elbow inflammation, finishing 6-11 with a 4.40 ERA in 25 starts — his fewest wins and starts and highest ERA in a full season since 2012.

Sale avoided surgery on his elbow, receiving platelet-rich plasma injections in the fall instead.

OLYMPICS

TOKYO (AP) — Japan’s Olympic minister said Tuesday the contract to hold the Tokyo Games only specifies the event has to be held during 2020.

Seiko Hashimoto’s response to a question in the upper house of parliament implies the Olympics could be held later in the year and would not have to start on July 24 as planned. The Paralympics open on Aug. 25.

The Tokyo Olympics are being threatened by a fast-spreading virus that has been blamed for 12 deaths in Japan and has shut down most schools, sports competitions and Olympic-related events in the country. The virus that started in China has been detected in at least 70 countries, with more than 90,000 cases and 3,100 deaths reported.

“The IOC has the right to cancel the games only if they are not held during 2020,” Hashimoto told parliament. “This can be interpreted to mean the games can be postponed as long as they are held during the calendar year.”

However, the suggestion of a possible change of plan was quickly batted back at a meeting of the International Olympic Committee’s executive board in Switzerland.

“We are going to have the games on the 24th of July,” IOC spokesman Mark Adams said at a briefing.

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Next week’s flame-lighting ceremony for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics will go ahead in Greece despite concerns about the virus outbreak, organizers said Tuesday.

The Greek Olympic committee said it is working closely with national health authorities and will hold meetings to re-evaluate the situation every two days. The committee, known as the HOC, also said the Greek leg of the torch relay will go ahead.

Greece has recorded seven cases of the virus, all linked with people who traveled from Italy.

LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — The surfing events at the 2024 Paris Olympics will be held on the other side of the world in Tahiti.

The International Olympic Committee signed off Tuesday on Paris organizers’ wish to send surfing competitions more than 15,000 kilometers (9,000 miles) away to the Pacific island instead of using France’s Atlantic coast.

Olympic leaders were won over despite IOC President Thomas Bach initially saying last year that he preferred keeping athletes closer to the host city.

Paris officials told IOC executive board members Tuesday they found “overwhelming support” among the surfing community for going to Tahiti.

NBA

NEW YORK (AP) — Kyrie Irving underwent surgery Tuesday to repair the injured right shoulder that ended his first season with the Brooklyn Nets after just 20 games.

The Nets said the procedure to relieve the impingement was performed by Dr. Riley Williams III at the Hospital for Special Surgery. The team said Irving is expected to make a full recovery.

Irving began having trouble with the shoulder as he worked to get back in shape after another injury in the preseason. The pain worsened in November, early in the regular season, and he missed 26 games before returning in January.

Irving got a cortisone shot on Dec. 24 but acknowledged that surgery still might be necessary. The decision to have it was reached last month on the night the Nets returned from the All-Star break.

PHOENIX (AP) — Phoenix Suns forward Kelly Oubre Jr. had surgery Tuesday to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee and will miss at least four weeks.

The 6-foot-7 Oubre has missed the past three games because of the injury and the Suns lost all of them. Oubre ranks third on the team with 18.7 points per game. He’s also averaging 6.4 rebounds.

The Suns said Oubre will be re-evaluated in four weeks. The Suns are 24-37 going into their game Tuesday against the Toronto Raptors, six games behind the Memphis Grizzlies for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

Coach Monty Williams said Oubre’s absence has hurt but the Suns but they must figure out a way to regroup.

NEW YORK (AP) — Spike Lee still has his courtside seat, though the New York Knicks had to tell their superfan to find another way to get there.

Lee said he won’t be sitting there the rest of this season, anyway.

The Oscar-winning writer-director told ESPN on Tuesday he wouldn’t be attending another Knicks home game this season after a disagreement with Madison Square Garden officials a night earlier over which elevator he could use.

A video circulated online during New York’s 125-123 victory over Houston on Monday showing Lee getting frustrated and yelling at Garden security outside an elevator, leading to confusion that he may have been thrown out of the building.

However, a Knicks spokesman said that was untrue and that it was simply an issue of Lee using the wrong entrance.

NFL

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — A person with knowledge of the deal tells The Associated Press that the Denver Broncos have agreed to acquire cornerback A.J. Bouye from the Jacksonville Jaguars for a fourth-round pick in the upcoming draft.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal can’t be processed and the teams cannot comment on it until the NFL’s new league year begins March 18.

The fourth-round pick in the deal is the one the Broncos acquired from the San Francisco 49ers at the trade deadline last season for wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders, who helped his new team reach the Super Bowl.

Bouye, who is due $13 million each of the next two seasons, has 14 interceptions in seven NFL seasons in Houston and Jacksonville. He made his only Pro Bowl in 2017.

—By Football Writer Arnie Stapleton.

INTERNATIONAL BASKETBALL

Concerns surrounding the coronavirus have forced the postponement of the inaugural Basketball Africa League season, which was to start later this month.

No rescheduling plan was announced.

A total of seven African nations — Egypt, Senegal, Nigeria, Angola, Tunisia, Morocco and Rwanda — were to play host to games during the inaugural season.

The virus, COVID-19, has been found in four of those countries so far: Tunisia, Morocco, Senegal and Nigeria. The first confirmed case in Senegal was announced just this week, and with the first BAL games to be played there, the league had little choice but to call off plans to play.

IDITAROD

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — Emergency surgery has sidelined a four-time winner of Alaska’s famed Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race days before he was set to compete in his 30th race.

Jeff King withdrew Tuesday over concerns for his health, a spokeswoman for the Iditarod told The Associated Press. The race will start Sunday north of Anchorage.

Messages left with King at the hospital and his cellphone were not immediately returned.

The 64-year-old musher posted a picture of himself on Facebook in a hospital bed with the words, “Curve ball.”

A separate Facebook posting from his kennel, Husky Homestead Tours, said King began to feel ill Monday night shortly after an Iditarod-affiliated event in Anchorage and went to a hospital with abdominal pain. He later underwent emergency surgery for a hernia and perforated intestine.