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BASEBALL

Minor League Baseball cancels 2020 season — With no players to fill rosters, no major television contracts to generate revenue and no way to put fans in seats, Minor League Baseball bowed to the inevitable Tuesday and canceled its 2020 season, which had already been delayed by nearly three months by the novel coronavirus pandemic. The move has been expected for months, since the business model for minor league teams — which lack the same lucrative television contracts as major league teams — isn’t built to withstand the financial pressures created by games played without fans. In addition, due to the national emergency, Major League Baseball suspended the agreement covering the assignment of players to minor league affiliates, and decided to adopt a “taxi squad” model to supply its teams with extra players during this truncated, 60-game season.

Rockies OF Desmond decides to sit out this season — Colorado Rockies outfielder Ian Desmond plans to sit out this season to be with his family and help grow youth baseball in his hometown in Florida. The 34-year-old Desmond wrote Monday night on Instagram that the “COVID-19 pandemic has made this baseball season one that is a risk I am not comfortable taking.” But the biracial slugger also mentioned a myriad of issues within baseball, including racism, sexism, homophobia and socioeconomic concerns. Desmond hit .255 with 20 homers in 140 games last season. In searching for Desmond’s replacement, the Rockies were working on a minor league deal with veteran Matt Kemp on Tuesday.

Tigers give $8.4M deal to Torkelson, who joins player pool — No. 1 overall draft pick Spencer Torkelson and the Detroit Tigers agreed to a minor league contract on Tuesday, and the team said the infielder will join its player pool for this abbreviated season. Torkelson’s deal includes $8,418,800. Undrafted out of high school, Torkelson hit 54 home runs at Arizona State. The Tigers took the slugging first baseman with the top pick, then said they intended to try him at third.

BASKETBALL

Trail Blazers’ Damian Lillard named cover athlete for NBA 2K21 — Trail Blazers’ star guard Damian Lillard has been chosen as a featured athlete on the cover of NBA 2K21, NBA 2K announced Tuesday. Lillard is the first Blazers player to be placed on the cover of the video game. He is the first of three cover athletes for this year’s rendition of the popular video game. “This is a special moment for me in my NBA career. I’ve been a fan of NBA 2K for years and love how they represent all aspects of basketball culture,” Lillard told bleacherreport.com. “I’m an avid 2K player so I’m honored to join the other NBA greats who have been on the cover.” Lillard, a five-time All-Star and three-time All-NBA player, will be on the cover of the game for all current-generation platforms, including PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Nintendo Switch.

Joe Borgia, NBA’s vice president overseeing refs, retires — Joe Borgia, who spent 32 years in the NBA as a referee and executive, announced his retirement Tuesday. Among the highlights of Borgia’s tenure with the league is the NBA Replay Center in Secaucus, New Jersey, which opened for the 2014-15 season and has become a fixture as part of both in-game reviews and analysis of the league’s referees. “I am grateful to have had the opportunity to officiate at the top of our profession and then transition to a role committed to the advancement and improvement of our officials,” Borgia said. “I am especially proud of the NBA Replay Center.” Borgia was hired to the NBA referee staff in 1988. He officiated 10 seasons before an injury forced him to stop in 1998. He joined the basketball and referee operations department in 1999.

— Bulletin wire reports

Reporter: 541-383-0318, mmorical@bendbulletin.com

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