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AROUND THE HORN

Three divisions?

NEW YORK (AP) — Major League Baseball is exploring various options that could allow the season to start if the medical situation allows, including a plan in which the 30 teams could be split into three regional divisions.

Among the formats is one is which teams could be restricted to playing within their region, two people familiar with the discussions said Tuesday. The people spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because no public statements were authorized.

That plan, if used, would cut travel during the coronavirus pandemic.

MLB also has looked at configurations for all-Arizona, Arizona-and-Florida and Arizona-plus-Texas-plus Florida, the people said.

Ticket refund policies

NEW YORK (AP) — Major League Baseball told teams on Tuesday they could decide their own ticket refund policies.

Spring training was suspended on March 12 and the regular season was delayed from its scheduled March 26 start because of the new coronavirus pandemic.

A revised schedule has not been announced, and teams had treated the missed games as postponements and not announced refund policies.

Two fans sued MLB, the 30 teams and ticket companies last week in federal court in Los Angeles, seeking refunds. The suit asks for class-action status.

Lakers return loan

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Los Angeles Lakers have repaid a loan of roughly $4.6 million from coronavirus business relief funds after learning the program had been depleted.

The Lakers applied for the loan under the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program, a part of the federal government’s $2.2 trillion stimulus package. The Lakers’ request was granted in the first round of distribution, but after the fund ran out of money in less than two weeks, the team returned its loan, as did several wealthier business including Shake Shack and AutoNation.

The Lakers issued a statement Monday confirming what happened.

“The Lakers qualified for and received a loan under the Payroll Protection Program,” the statement read. “However, once we found out the funds from the program had been depleted, we repaid the loan so that financial support would be directed to those most in need. The Lakers remain completely committed to supporting both our employees and our community.”

Winston joins Brees

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The New Orleans Saints have agreed to terms on a one-year contract with unrestricted free agent quarterback Jameis Winston.

Winston, the first overall pick in the 2015 draft, will serve as the backup to Drew Brees.

Winston is coming off a season in which he led the NFL with 5,109 yards passing and ranked second with 33 touchdown passes, but he also led the NFL in interceptions with 30. That made Winston the first QB in NFL history to have at least 30 TDs and 30 interceptions.

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