BASEBALL

Wednesday’s game between the Portland Sea Dogs and New Hampshire Fisher Cats was rained out and rescheduled as part of a doubleheader on Thursday, starting at 5 p.m. at Hadlock Field.

Fans who had tickets for Wednesday’s game can exchange them for a ticket later this season.

The Bobby Dalbec bobblehead giveaway that was planned for Wednesday will instead take place on Wednesday, May 26, before a game against the Hartford Yard Goats. The first 500 fans will receive the bobblehead.

SOCCER

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Chelsea will end a turbulent season by playing in the Champions League final after making the competition’s most successful team look ordinary.

Timo Werner and Mason Mount scored to secure a 2-0 victory over Real Madrid in the second of their semifinal, ousting the record 13-time European champions 3-1 on aggregate.

It will be an all-English final against Manchester City on May 29, but the Premier League rivals will have to fly four hours to play the UEFA showpiece in Istanbul, which is currently in a coronavirus lockdown.

MLS: Orlando forward Alexandre Pato is expected to be sidelined for 3 to 6 weeks following arthroscopic surgery on his right knee.

The 31-year-old Brazilian was operated on Tuesday by Orlando chief medical officer Dr. Craig Mintzer at the Orlando Health Jewett Orthopedic Institute.

Pato was hurt during the 80th minute of his Major League Soccer debut against Atlanta on April 17.

Pato’s full name is Alexandre Rodrigues da Silva and his nickname is Portuguese for “Duck.” He played for Brazil’s Internacionale (2006-07), AC Milan (2007-13), Corinthians (2013-14), Sao Paulo (2014-15, 2019-20), Chelsea (2015-16), Villarreal (2016-17) and China’s Tianjin Quanjian (2017-18).

Pato scored 10 goals in 27 appearances for Brazil from 2008-13, including at the 2011 Copa America.

U.S. MEN: The U.S. men’s soccer team will play Costa Rica in an exhibition on June 9 at Sandy, Utah, the Americans’ fourth match in an 11-day span designed to simulate the compacted World Cup qualifying schedule.

The team gathers in Europe and starts the run of games on May 30 with a friendly against Switzerland in St. Gallen.

EUROPA LEAGUE: So much for Arsenal being one of the elite soccer clubs in Europe.

Three weeks after being among the instigators of the controversially closed-off and ultimately ill-fated Super League, the English team is facing the ignominy of being shut out of continental competition for the first time in 25 years.

A failure to overturn a 2-1 deficit against Villarreal in the Europa League semifinals on Thursday would end Arsenal’s quarter-century run of participating in either the Champions League or UEFA’s secondary club competitions.

Such a degrading of status would be ironic, considering the planned Super League – devised and then aborted within a chaotic 48-hour period last month – would have positioned Arsenal as one of 12 elite teams in the European game.

The significance of the match against Villarreal, likely to be played against the backdrop of more fan protests against Arsenal’s American ownership for its involvement in the Super League project, isn’t lost on Mikel Arteta.

“It is a big moment,” the Arsenal manager said. “Not for me but for the club, for everything that has happened in the last two years, in the last months, and for all the instability that we have been hit with for many different reasons.

“I think it will be really important, and a big step forward, if we are able to be in that final and have the opportunity to win that trophy.”

PREMIER LEAGUE: Only home fans will be allowed into games when the Premier League welcomes back spectators to stadiums for the final two rounds of the season.

Supporters will return in a reduced capacity from May 17, subject to the British government easing lockdown restrictions as planned, and the Premier League has rearranged its schedule to ensure each of its 20 teams plays at least one game at home in front of fans. The league said away supporters would not get tickets for those matches “due to varying operational challenges” and to maximize the opportunity for home fans to attend.

“This marks a key step towards full stadiums, including away fans, from the start of the 2021-22 season,” the league said in a statement.

The next-to-last round of games will take place on May 18-19. The final round is on May 23.

• Manchester United’s game against Liverpool that was postponed Sunday because of protests by home fans at Old Trafford has been rescheduled for May 13.

That means United will play three Premier League games in five days. The team plays at Aston Villa on Sunday and has a home game against Leicester on Tuesday.

TENNIS

MADRID OPEN: In a much-anticipated battle of generations, Rafael Nadal showed he is still clearly the man to beat in Spanish tennis, cruising to a 6-1, 6-2 win over teenage sensation Carlos Alcaraz in the second round.

Nadal, seeking his sixth title in Madrid and looking to regain top form ahead of the French Open, was never threatened by Alcaraz, who turned 18 on Wednesday. The 120th-ranked Alcaraz was coming off his first victory at a Masters 1000 event and had called the match against his idol a “dream come true.” He has been touted by many as the successor to the 34-year-old Nadal.

The two Spaniards had never played a match against each other but practiced together at the Australian Open, when Alcaraz reached the second round.

“It was a difficult match against a youngster who has been playing very well and who has an enormous potential ahead of him,” Nadal said. “All he needs is some time. In addition to being a great tennis player, he also has great values, which is something society needs right now.”

Second-seeded Daniil Medvedev broke his six-match tour-level losing streak on clay with a 4-6, 6-4, 6-2 win over Alejandro Davidovich Fokina. The third-ranked Medvedev hadn’t played since March at the Miami Open. He will next face Chilean Cristian Garin, who defeated Dominik Koepfer 6-3, 6-4.

Alexander Zverev, the 2018 Madrid champion, comfortably defeated 2014 finalist Kei Nishikori 6-3, 6-2. The fifth-seeded German has reached the Madrid quarterfinals or better in his last three appearances in the Spanish capital. He will next face Daniel Evans, who defeated John Millman 6-7 (5), 6-2, 6-3. Seventh-seeded Diego Schwartzman lost 2-6, 6-4, 6-1 to Aslan Karatsev.

In the women’s draw, Paula Badosa defeated Belinda Bencic 6-4, 7-5 to become the first Spanish woman to reach the semifinals in Madrid. She will face top-ranked Ashleigh Barty, who got past Petra Kvitova 6-1, 3-6, 6-3.

HORSE RACING

HALL OF FAME: Triple Crown winner American Pharoah, seven-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer Todd Pletcher and 13-time champion steeplechase trainer Jack Fisher have been elected to the National Museum of Racing’s Hall of Fame.

American Pharoah and Pletcher were selected in the contemporary category in their first year of eligibility. Fisher was chosen by the museum’s steeplechase review committee, which meets once every four years.

The class of 2021 announced Wednesday will be enshrined Aug. 6 in Saratoga Springs, New York, along with the 2020 inductees – trainer Mark Casse, jockey Darrel McHargue, thoroughbreds Tom Bowling and Wise Dan, and Alice Headley Chandler, J. Keene Daingerfield Jr. and George D. Widener Jr. in the “Pillars of the Turf” category.

Last year’s induction ceremony was canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic. The ceremony this year will be broadcast live on the museum’s website. An announcement regarding public attendance will be made later.

AUTO RACING

FORMULA ONE: Romain Grosjean will make a brief return to Formula One with a special one-off test for Mercedes exactly seven months after he escaped a fiery crash in Bahrain.

Mercedes announced that Grosjean will drive Lewis Hamilton’s 2019 championship-winning car in demonstration laps at the French Grand Prix on June 27 before a full test day at Circuit Paul Ricard two days later. It fulfills a promise Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff made following Grosjean’s crash last November when the Frenchman drove for Haas. Grosjean pulled himself from the fiery wreckage and as he lay hospitalized, Wolff said in a news conference he did not want that to be Grosjean’s final experience in F1.

“The first I heard about the chance to drive a Mercedes was in my hospital bed in Bahrain was when Toto was speaking to the media and made the invitation. Reading that news cheered me up a lot,” Grosjean said on Mercedes’ website. “F1 didn’t get the chance to race in France during 2020 because of COVID so driving a Mercedes at the French Grand Prix in 2021 and then completing a test at the Circuit Paul Ricard, my home track, will be so special. I can’t wait for the day to arrive.”

Grosjean suffered serious burns to his hands that left visible scarring. He has since moved to IndyCar in the United States and has completed two races.

GOLF

PGA: The PGA Tour’s Rocket Mortgage Classic will have some spectators this summer at Detroit Golf Club.

The announcement was made two months before U.S. Open champion Bryson DeChambeau returns to defend his title in the Motor City. Tournament officials have not determined how many fans will be able to buy tickets to the Rocket Mortgage Classic, which concludes on July 4.

Michigan has become the current national hotspot for COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations at a time when more than half of the U.S. adult population has been vaccinated and other states have seen the virus diminish substantially.

COLLEGES

MEN’S BASKETBALL: Former Arkansas guard Desi Sills is heading to Southeastern Conference rival Auburn.

Tigers Coach Bruce Pearl said Sills has signed an athletics financial aid agreement.

Sills, who played three seasons with the Razorbacks, has two years of eligibility remaining. The 6-foot-2, 200-pounder averaged 7.5 points, 2.7 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game last season for Arkansas, which advanced to the Elite Eight.

FOOTBALL: Clemson defensive end Justin Foster, who missed the 2020 season due to COVID-19 and asthma, has changed his mind about leaving the Tigers and will rejoin the program.

Foster, a 6-foot-2, 275-pound senior from Shelby, North Carolina, had decided to give up the college game because of lingering affects of contracting the coronavirus combined with his asthma. However, he said he got encouraging news at a recent doctor’s appointment and felt good enough to start working out.

Foster called Clemson Coach Dabo Swinney that he wanted to come back. “It’s not often you get a call from a great player that you think is gone and he says he’s coming back, so just a great thing,” Swinney said in a statement.


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