Yankee players holding a black ribbon during the national anthem to show their support for racial justice. Photo: Alex Trautwig/MLB Photos via Getty Images

The MLB finally returned to the field for Opening Day on Thursday as the New York Yankees face off against the Washington Nationals, the defending World Series champions, in the District of Columbia.

Why it matters: Thursday's game sets off what's sure to be a historic season against the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic. The season was kicked off by a ceremonial first pitch thrown by the country's leading infectious disease expert, Anthony Fauci.

In photos:
Grounds crew preparing Nationals Park on July 23 for Opening Day. Photo: Alex Trautwig/MLB Photos via Getty Images
Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, before throwing a hard-left opening pitch. Photo: Alex Trautwig/MLB Photos via Getty Images
Nationals players kneeling and holding a black ribbon to show their support for the Black Lives Matter movement. Photo: Alex Trautwig/MLB Photos via Getty Images
Adam Eaton of the Washington Nationals rounding the bases after hitting a solo home run in the first inning. Photo: Alex Trautwig/MLB Photos via Getty Images
Yankee pitcher Gerrit Cole throwing in the first inning. Photo: Alex Trautwig/MLB Photos via Getty Images

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Updated 22 hours ago - World

Beirut explosion: Death toll rises to 135, officials under house arrest

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The death toll from Tuesday's explosion in Beirut, Lebanon has now surpassed 130, including at least one U.S. citizen, amid a search for answers as to why a huge store of ammonium nitrate was left unsecured near the city's port for nearly seven years.

What we know: The government says around 5,000 people are injured. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said current indications are that the massive explosion was accidental, despite President Trump's puzzling claim on Tuesday evening that it appeared to be a bomb attack.

Elliott Abrams to replace Brian Hook as Trump's Iran envoy

Brian Hook. Photo: Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Image

President Trump's Iran envoy, Brian Hook, is stepping down and will be replaced by Elliott Abrams, a noted Iran hawk who currently serves as Trump's envoy for Venezuela, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo confirmed Thursday. Abrams will continue to serve in his role as Venezuela envoy.

Why it matters: Hook had been tasked with executing Trump's "maximum pressure" policy toward Iran, working closely with Pompeo. That strategy has deepened tensions and thus far failed to force Iran back to the negotiating table, as Trump had hoped.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine tests positive for coronavirus ahead of Trump visit

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Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) has tested positive for COVID-19 and plans to quarantine at his home for the next 14 days, his office announced Thursday. He currently has no symptoms.

Why it matters: The 73-year-old DeWine was set to meet President Trump Thursday on the tarmac at an airport in Cleveland and was tested as part of standard protocol. He is the second governor known to have contracted the coronavirus, after Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt (R).