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Sports at a glance

Pirates hire new assistant

PITTSBURGH — The Pittsburgh Pirates on Friday announced they have added Christian Marrero to the coaching staff as assistant hitting coach.

Marrero spent the previous three seasons as a hitting coach in the Phillies organization with Lakewood (2019-20) and Williamsport (2018). The former outfielder played parts of 12 minor league seasons for the White Sox, Pirates, Braves and Phillies.Marrero will work closely with hitting coach Rick Eckstein, assisting all players at the Major League level.

Mike Rabelo, who served in Marrero’s spot in 2020, is transitioning to a new position on the big league staff as Major League Field Coordinator. Rabelo will also advise and assist manager Derek Shelton and bench coach Don Kelly on MLB rules, in-game situations, and practice design.

Murray out of Aussie Open

Five-time Australian Open finalist Andy Murray withdrew from the year’s first Grand Slam tournament, saying Friday he could not figure out a workable quarantine that would allow him to compete amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The announcement comes a little more than a week after Murray, who has won three Grand Slam singles titles elsewhere, said he tested positive for COVID-19 shortly before he was due to board a charter flight to Melbourne.

He had been awarded a wild-card entry by Tennis Australia to allow him to compete at Melbourne Park, where the hard-court major championship is scheduled to begin Feb. 8, a three-week delay due to the pandemic.

Olympics talk downplayed

TOKYO — IOC President Thomas Bach and local organizers are pushing back against reports that the postponed Tokyo Olympics will be canceled.

Now set to open July 23, the Tokyo Games were postponed 10 months ago at the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, and now the event appears threatened again.

The Times of London, citing unidentified government sources, reported that the games will have to be canceled. It quoted an unidentified senior member of the ruling government coalition.

“No one wants to be the first to say so but the consensus is that it’s too difficult,” the person said. “Personally, I don’t think it’s going to happen.”

NBCSN going out of business

The NBC Sports Network, which is best known for its coverage of the NHL and English Premier League, will be going away at the end of the year.

NBC Sports Chairman Pete Bevacqua announced the channel’s shutdown on Friday in an internal memo to staff.

“At the conclusion of 2021, we have decided that the best strategic next step for our Sports Group and the entire Company is to wind down NBCSN completely,” Bevacqua said in the memo.

NBCSN is available in 80.1 million homes, according to Nielsen’s latest estimate, which is less than ESPN (83.1 million) and FS1 (80.2 million).

The channel was launched by Comcast in 1995 as the Outdoor Life Network. It was best known for carrying the Tour de France until it acquired the NHL in 2005. It changed its name to Versus in 2006 and then to NBC Sports Network six years later after Comcast bought NBC Universal in 2011.

The Associated Press

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