Sports Desk: Isotopes return, ready to open Thursday

FOX New Mexico

NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – When they take the field for the first time in over a year Thursday, the Albuquerque Isotopes will be ready to embrace some of the changes brought by COVID-19. Players will not be able to sign autographs like in the past. The players will also have to make their own adjustments that they didn’t have to deal with during spring training.

“We had 85 percent capacity in terms of vaccines so we didn’t have to wear masks in the dugout, in the bullpen, and in the weight room,” said Isotopes Manager Warren Schaeffer. “I mean, that’s a big deal, not to be able to do that. Now we have to do all that stuff again and it’s going to be a change for the guys. There’s no doubt about it, but you know, it’s our job. We got to get through it.”

Schaeffer will be making his debut as Isotopes skipper. He was hired last year before the season was canceled.

In other sports news, the well-traveled Teddy Allen has transferred again and is now a member of the New Mexico State men’s basketball team. The six-foot-six shooting guard averaged over 16 points per game last season at Nebraska. The Aggies will be Allen’s fifth school.

The defending champions of Class 4A girls basketball have advanced to the semifinals of the state tournament. The Los Lunas Tigers moved up to Class 5A this season. It did not slow them down as they traveled to Rio Rancho to knock off the Cleveland Storm 55-48 in overtime. In boys Class 4A action the Artesia Bulldogs outlasted the Silver Colts 76-58.

Caroline Jansson has picked up a fun hobby while playing golf for the University of New Mexico Lobos. As a sophomore Jansson started collecting golf balls from opposing teams. Jansson is now a senior and that collection has grown to 103 balls. She is still working to add to her collection as the Lobos prepare to compete in the NCAA Columbus Regional May 10-12.

Lastly, Jackson and Wink Academy fighter Michelle Waterson got an upgrade Tuesday. Her UFC Vegas showdown against Marina Rodriguez has been upgraded to the main event. The two strawweight fighters will also move up a division and battle at flyweight.

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