Dr Fauci to throw 1st pitch at MLB opener

Dr. Anthony Fauci, a self-described Washington Nationals fan, will be at their MLB season opener

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top infectious disease expert in the United States, will throw the ceremonial first pitch at the opening game of Major League Baseball's pandemic-delayed regular season.

Washington Nationals announced on Monday that Fauci - a self-described fan of the reigning World Series champions - accepted the team's invitation to have the pre-game honour on Thursday night.

The Nationals host the New York Yankees to open the season nearly four months after it originally was scheduled to begin.

Spring training was halted in March because of the COVID-19 outbreak and teams resumed preparing to play this month.

In their new release about Fauci's role at the opener, the Nationals refer to him as "a true champion for our country" during the pandemic "and throughout his distinguished career."

The National Basketball Association said on Monday that none of the 346 players tested for COVID-19 over the past week on its bubble-like campus at Disney World in Florida returned positive tests.

When the NBA, which will resume its season on July 30 at Disney World without spectators, released its previous update last Monday it said two of the 322 players who arrived at the campus since July 7 had tested positive.

The NBA, which halted its season in March, will have 22 of its 30 teams play eight seeding games to determine a full 16-team post-season field that will follow the traditional finals format with four best-of-seven series.

All games, practices and housing are at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex inside the Orlando resort, which has multiple hotels and arenas, and allows the league to limit outside exposure.

Meanwhile, the National Football League has offered to scrap all pre-season games, a person familiar with the decision told The Associated Press.

Furthermore, it's understood the NFL has offered provisions for players concerned about participating in training camp and/or games to opt out and receive a stipend.

The union has not yet accepted the offers.

Earlier on Monday, the league said players will be tested daily for the coronavirus for at least the first two weeks of training camp, per the league's new testing protocols.

The National Hockey League said only two players tested positive for COVID-19 during the first five days of training camp last week.

A total of 2,618 tests of more than 800 players from July 13-17 were conducted by the league.

Training camps opened on July 13, with 24 teams preparing to compete in an expanded play-off format in Toronto and Edmonton, starting on August 1.

Teams are scheduled to travel to both hub cities on Sunday.