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Hurricane prompts rescheduling of sporting events

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Hurricane Irene is already leaving its mark on the sports world even before coming ashore.

Professional baseball games, the NFL, tennis matches and MLS games are being rescheduled as the Hurricane approaches the East Coast.

Major League Baseball announced Thursday that it moved the scheduled game Sunday between the Florida Marlins and Philadelphia Phillies to Saturday at 1:05 p.m., creating a day-night doubleheader. The Boston Red Sox also moved Sunday's series finale against the Oakland Athletics to Saturday night as part of a day-night doubleheader.

"We felt it was necessary and prudent to move the Sunday game to Saturday," Red Sox President and CEO Larry Lucchino said. "This will not only give us the best opportunity to play the scheduled games, but also help to insure that traveling conditions are safer for our fans."

The Giants and Jets have moved up the starting time of their preseason football game five hours to 2 p.m. Saturday. Giants president and CEO John Mara said Thursday the game was rescheduled so fans would be able to get home safely after the game.

The New Haven Open, the final WTA tuneup before next week's U.S. Open, moved its championship match at Yale to 1 p.m. from 5 p.m. Saturday to avoid the storm.

"Right now it looks like the hurricane is not going to hit until early Sunday morning," said Anne Worcester, the tournament's director. "But, it's not just the actual playing time of the final, but our staff has to break down the site, so it has a lot to do with their safety."

The U.S. Open tennis tournament also was working on contingency plans to try to avoid problems from the hurricane.

As it is, rain on Thursday forced postponement of play in the tournament's qualifying rounds, and action was scheduled to resume at 10 a.m. Friday, an hour earlier than originally planned. The tournament then will try to have winners play a second match Friday in hopes of wrapping up the qualifying that day so as to avoid having to play Saturday. If the qualifying isn't completed before more rain arrives Saturday, matches could be moved offsite to an indoor facility.

Major League Soccer also changed times or dates for three games scheduled this weekend.

The Philadelphia Union rescheduled Sunday's game against New England for 8 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 7 at PPL Park in Chester, Pa. The New York Red Bulls moved Sunday's game against L.A. Galaxy to 8 p.m. Tuesday Oct. 4 at Red Bull Arena.

And D.C. United moved Saturday's start time against Portland to 2 p.m. from 7:30 p.m. at RFK Stadium. MLS will continue to monitor the hurricane before making a final determination of the status of that game.

At the PGA Tour's The Barclays in Edison, N.J., the gloomy forecast left players and officials wondering when, how or even if they can finish the opening FedEx Cup playoff event.

Slugger White, the tour's vice president of competition, hoped to complete 36 holes by Friday, and if the expected wind and rain holds off long enough, get through the third round Saturday.

No one was sure what to expect after that, if anything at all. White ruled out a 36-hole Saturday.

The concern is that about 10 inches of rain fell over the last few weeks and the course probably can't take much more. "If we get five or seven inches of rain here, we are probably dead in the water," White said.

What might help is that the next event, the Deutsche Bank, doesn't start until Friday because of its traditional Labor Day finish. Only PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem has the authority to allow for a Tuesday finish if it comes to that. "I don't think anybody has any clue," player Charley Hoffman said.