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Report: MLB sees 40 positive COVID-19 tests among players, staff in last week – Sportsnet.ca

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MLB has seen 40 players and staff test positive for COVID-19 in the past week as negotiations drag on between the league and players in an attempt to start the pandemic-delayed 2020 season, according to Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY.

The news comes on the heels of the league shuttering all 30 of its training camps for deep cleaning and disinfecting following a rise in positive tests in Florida. The Philadelphia Phillies also announced Friday that five players had tested positive for COVID-19. Meanwhile, four members of the New York Yankees’ organization have reportedly tested positive and the Toronto Blue Jays shut down their spring training facility in Dunedin after a player exhibited COVID-19 symptoms.

On Sunday, the MLBPA also delayed its vote on MLB’s latest offer for a 60-game season, but was expected to reject the proposal. Players want 70 games and $275 million more than teams are offering. They are worried that if a resurgence of the new coronavirus causes the 2020 season to be cut short, the deal being negotiated would lock in innovations for 2021 and lessen the union’s bargaining power.

With files from The Associated Press.

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Hamilton fastest, Stroll 7th in Friday practice – TSN

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SPIELBERG, Austria — Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton posted the fastest time in the first two practice sessions for the season-opening Austrian Grand Prix on Friday.

Lance Stroll was the top Canadian, driving his Racing Point to seventh in Free Practice 2, less than a second behind Hamilton. Nicholas Latifi, racing his first Grand Prix in F1 this weekend, finished the second practice session 20th, 2.8 seconds behind the leader.

The British driver twice finished ahead of his Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas on the 4.3-kilometre (2.7-mile) Red Bull Ring circuit in Spielberg nestled at the foot of the Styrian mountains in southern Austria.

Bottas was .356 seconds behind Hamilton in the damp and overcast morning run and improved to .197 back as the track dried and became warmer in the afternoon. Late in that session, however, he had to return to the pits because of a braking issue.

Red Bull driver Max Verstappen, who has won the past two races here, was third quickest in the first practice but slipped to eighth in the second session and encountered oversteering problems.

Ferrari struggled for speed in the morning with Charles Leclerc 10th quickest and Sebastian Vettel only 12th, but improved in the afternoon with Vettel pushing up to fourth behind Sergio Perez in third. Perez’s Racing Point team uses Mercedes engines.

Although Vettel showed good cornering speed, he was still a somewhat distant .657 seconds adrift of Hamilton’s time in the second session.

Ferrari is racing with the same car it used in preseason testing in February and has not made any upgrades, while Mercedes and other teams have.

After making a late strategy decision in terms of aerodynamic development this week, Ferrari is not upgrading its cars until the third race in Hungary, where practice starts on July 17.

Austria is hosting back-to-back races as part of an eight-race European swing, after the season was postponed for four months because of the coronavirus pandemic.

There are no fans allowed at races until further notice.

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More AP auto racing: https://apnews.com/apf-AutoRacing and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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Sebastian Vettel says Ferrari never offered a contract! – F1i.com

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Sebastian Vettel revealed that his eviction from Ferrari came as a total surprise, insisting an offer was never tabled by the team.

The unexpected announcement back in May of Vettel’s departure from Maranello alluded to a separation by mutual consent and came after Scuderia boss Mattia Binotto had publicly stated earlier in the year that the four-time world champion remained the team’s first choice as teammate to Charles Leclerc.

But speaking in Austria ahead of this weekend’s opening round of the 2020 season, Vettel set the record straight on his exit from the Italian outfit.

“It was obviously a surprise to me when I got the call from Mattia, when he told me that there was no further intention for the team to continue [with me],” explained Vettel.

“We never got into any discussions, there was never an offer on the table and therefore there was no sticking point.”

Speculation is rife about Vettel’s next move with most insiders projecting a retirement or a year on the sidelines for the 32-year-old. But Vettel insists he’s motivated to remain on the grid in 2021, under certain conditions.

“Obviously I want to make sure I make the right decision for myself and my future,” he said.

“I think I have a very competitive nature, I have achieved a lot in the sport, I’m motivated and willing to achieve more.

“To do so I need the right package and the right people around me so that’s what I’m looking out for at the moment, if the right opportunity should arise then it is quite clear.

“If that’s not the case then I’ll probably have to look out for something else.

“I am of the conviction that if you are prepared to let’s say, shut the door, then you should be prepared to shut that door and not shut it and expect it to open again.

“You have to be aware of the decision you are making at the time and that’s also why I’m not rushing into anything, the next weeks and months will be probably bringing some more clarity.”

Gallery: The beautiful wives and girlfriends of F1 drivers

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Hamilton fastest in the 1st practice for Austrian Grand Prix – TSN

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SPIELBERG, Austria — Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton posted the fastest time on Friday in the first practice for the season-opening Austrian Grand Prix.

The British driver was .356 seconds ahead of his Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas on the 4.3-kilometre (2.7-mile) Red Bull Ring circuit in Spielberg nestled at the foot of the Styrian mountains in southern Austria.

Red Bull driver Max Verstappen, who has won the past two races here, was third quickest and .602 behind Hamilton in damp and overcast conditions.

Lance Stroll was the top Canadian, finishing with a top lap of 1:06.074 a little more than a second behind Hamilton. Stroll’s Racing Point teammate Sergio Perez finished the session fifth, with a top lap time of 1:05.512.

Nicholas Latifi finished 18th in his first practice session his rookie year, lass than a half second behind his impressive Williams teammate George Russell, who clocked a 1:06.495 top lap. 

Both Ferrari drivers struggled for speed, with Charles Leclerc 10th quickest and Sebastian Vettel only 12th. Ferrari is racing with the same car it used in preseason testing in February and has not made any upgrades, while Mercedes and other teams have.

There is a second practice later Friday.

Austria is hosting back-to-back races as part of an eight-race European swing, after the season was postponed for four months because of the coronavirus pandemic.

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More AP auto racing: https://apnews.com/apf-AutoRacing and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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