The Yankees are optimistic that Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, James Paxton and even Aaron Hicks will be ready on Opening Day, when baseball reboots after a three-month coronavirus shutdown. Brian Cashman said Tuesday that he expects the three, who were on the injured list when spring training was halted, to have enough time in the spring training reboot to be game-ready.

The Yankees GM said that the three really need reps and game experience to be ready for the expected opening day on July 23.

Judge had just begun hitting off a tee when the Yankees’ spring training complex was closed down after four players tested positive for COVID-19 two weeks ago. That was almost three months after he received the diagnosis of a fractured right rib with a partially collapsed lung in March. Stanton, who suffered a strained right calf in spring training, has not done outfield work, but Cashman said he was confident that Stanton at least could be in the lineup as a designated hitter. Hicks, who had Tommy John surgery in October, has been hitting for a few weeks.

Paxton, who had back surgery in early February, had just begun throwing when spring training 1.0 was shut down. He has been throwing simulated innings and has said repeatedly he expects to be a full go when the teams reconvene.

• Sinkerballing reliever Jared Hughes and the New York Mets agreed Tuesday to a $700,000, one-year contract, a deal that amounts to $259,259 in prorated pay over the 60-game season.

Hughes can earn an additional $300,000 for days on the active roster: $50,000 each for 10 and 30, and $100,000 apiece for 45 and 60. The roster bonuses would not be prorated.

He had a 6.35 ERA over five appearances and 5 2/3 innings during spring training with Houston and was released March 19, a week after the exhibition season was stopped by the coronavirus pandemic. If he had been added to Houston’s 40-man roster, he would have received a one-year contract with a salary of $1.5 million while in the majors and $150,000 in the minors.


ZANARDI ‘SERIOUS BUT STABLE:’ Alex Zanardi, a four-time Paralympic gold medalist, is in “serious but stable” condition after having a second operation for head injuries he sustained June 19 in a handbike crash.

Zanardi, who became a world-class athlete in his second career after both his legs were amputated following an auto-racing crash, lost control of his handbike and collided with a truck during a road race near Pienza, Italy. The 53-year-old remains in a medically induced coma after the 2½-hour surgery, according to a statement from Santa Maria alle Scotte University Hospital in Siena.

Zanardi drove in F1 races from 1991-94 and again in 1999; from 1996-98, he drove in the U.S.-based CART circuit, winning titles in 1997 and 1998. He crashed during a race in Germany in 2001 and both legs had to be amputated. He resumed racing in 2005, winning four races for BMW in the World Touring Car Championship, and winning four races.


RUSSIAN GAME CALLED OFF: The Russian soccer league says another game involving FC Orenburg has been called off following an outbreak of coronavirus at the club.

The league says the regional public health body did not sign off on Orenburg hosting Ural Yekaterinburg. Orenburg already forfeited a game on Saturday against FC Krasnodar.

The league says 10 people at Orenburg have been confirmed to have the virus. The club said last week that six players and two staff members had tested positive.

There was no mention of any plan to reschedule the game.


RUSSIA DOPING: Russia is expected to miss Wednesday’s deadline to pay a $5 million fine to the governing body of track and field.

Russian track federation president Yevgeny Yurchenko told the Tass state news agency on Wednesday that “the money, unfortunately, has not been found.”

World Athletics could suspend the “authorized neutral athlete” program, which allows Russians to enter international competitions even though their federation is suspended. Russians with that status won six medals at last year’s world championships, including gold for Mariya Lasitskene in the high jump and for Anzhelika Sidorova in the pole vault.

The World Athletics council is next due to meet July 29-30.

Russia was fined $10 million by World Athletics in March, with $5 million suspended, after the federation admitted that fake documents were used under the previous management to give an athlete an alibi for missing a doping test. Russia also has to pay the cost for the investigation.

Yurchenko told Tass that World Athletics should take into account the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic, which he said had further damaged the Russian track federation’s finances.

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