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Matt Barnes left off Red Sox’ ALCS roster, but CBO Chaim Bloom remains confident in All-Star’s future

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Matt Barnes left off Red Sox’ ALCS roster, but CBO Chaim Bloom remains confident in All-Star’s future

HOUSTON — Chaim Bloom saw enough during the first half of the season to give Matt Barnes a contract extension that will keep him with the Red Sox at least through 2023.

And despite his rough slide since then, the Red Sox’ chief baseball officer knows enough about the veteran reliever that he’ll be back to the level that earned him that extension in the first place.

After initially missing the cut on the Red Sox’ ALDS roster, Barnes was also left off the ALCS roster Friday, continuing a stunning fall for the All-Star closer over the last three months. Bloom said the decision included a combination of matchups against the Astros, and that he hadn’t yet regained his All-Star form after a brutal August and a two-week absence in September when he tested positive for COVID-19. But that didn’t mean it was easy.

“Knowing what Matt looks like when he’s at the very top of his game made it harder to see him go through a rough patch,” Bloom said. “I have no doubt that he will get back to that place, but when you’re talking about these types of series, we obviously have a shorter time. The opponents matter a lot, the way you might use a guy … is everything.

“So, it was a tough decision because of how important he is to us and what he means to the organization, but at the same time, he’s going to keep working and he’ll be ready just like he was last series when we needed him.”

Barnes replaced Garrett Richards on the ALDS roster after he injured his hamstring in Game 1. When the Sox held a big lead over the Rays in Game 2, manager Alex Cora used Barnes in the ninth but even then he didn’t look sharp, allowing a hit and two walks in one inning.

He wasn’t used again in the series as the Red Sox closed it out in four games, and a week since that Game 2 outing, Bloom and the Sox ultimately weren’t confident in him enough to use him in the ALCS.

“We’re still working with him,” Bloom said. “He’s still working and arguably the fact that he’s not on the roster actually gives us more runway to work with him. But the decision had to be made by this morning, so we went with the roster that we did.”

Obviously, the Red Sox’ hope is that they advance to the World Series, where Barnes could potentially return. But whether they do or don’t, they still have Barnes for two more years, with a club option for 2024. Bloom certainly doesn’t regret giving Barnes the extension when he did, and though the All-Star isn’t pitching in their biggest games of the season, he remains confident that this rough patch won’t linger beyond this season.

“Just knowing who he is and getting to know him a lot better over the course of the last two years and looking at the totality of his track record, including the entirety of this year, he’s still up there as one of the best and most reliable relievers in the game, so I’m not worried about him long term at all,” Bloom said. “Obviously, would we love for him to be dominating on a nightly basis like he did in the first half? Of course, but big picture, I still feel the same way about him as I did a couple months ago. …

“What we know about Matt Barnes, and he’s shown it for an extended period of time, is his ceiling is the absolute top echelon of relievers in this game, so the next challenge, which is a tall order for anybody, is to position himself to be at that level always.”

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Key stretch of Santa Fe closed Thursday morning following police chase

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Key stretch of Santa Fe closed Thursday morning following police chase

Officials closed Santa Fe Drive between Mineral Avenue and County Line Road on Thursday.

The closure began around 4 a.m. when a police chase ended in a crash.

Denver7 reported multiple suspects in custody after Douglas County authorities chased what they say was a stolen vehicle.

The chase ended after the car’s tires were blown out with stop sticks.

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Tractor-trailer and vehicle on fire on WB 270 at Lindbergh

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Tractor-trailer and vehicle on fire on WB 270 at Lindbergh

ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. – Members of the St. Louis County Police Central Precinct will be saying farewell to one of their own Thursday at the visitation for fallen police officer Antonio Valentine.

He was driving an unmarked police vehicle on Wednesday, December 1 when a black sedan traveling at a high rate of speed crashed into it near Crete Drive and Chambers Road in Bellefontaine Neighbors. Moments before the crash, Drug Unit Detectives attempted to stop the sedan for an investigation.

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Chicago Bears rookie Teven Jenkins is ‘trusting the process’ in his return from back surgery. For now, that means learning behind veteran Jason Peters.

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Teven Jenkins is content to learn from veteran Jason Peters for now after the Chicago Bears rookie recovered from back surgery: ‘I believe it’s the right path for me’

It would be understandable if Teven Jenkins’ patience were wearing thin.

Nearly 13 months have passed since the Chicago Bears offensive tackle has started a football game.

First a back injury at Oklahoma State prompted him to opt out of the final four games of his senior season in 2020. Then, after the Bears drafted him with the 39th pick in the spring, another back issue required surgery and sidelined him for the first three months of his rookie season.

Now, though Jenkins said he hasn’t felt this good physically since he was 18 years old, he remains sidelined behind nine-time Pro Bowl left tackle Jason Peters, the 39-year-old veteran whom the Bears signed to fill in.

Jenkins, however, said he’s willing to take on whatever role the Bears want for him right now, even if that’s mostly just soaking up Peters’ advice.

“It’s all about trusting the process,” Jenkins said Wednesday in his first media session since June. “(Peters is) a (future) Hall of Famer. He’s greatness. So I have no problem sitting behind Jason Peters right now and learning — just learning.

“Because I trust what the Bears have in store for me and I trust what Coach (Juan) Castillo has for me and Coach (Matt) Nagy. I trust them all. And I believe it’s the right path for me.”

With Peters playing well and Jenkins still catching up from the time he missed, Nagy and Castillo said Jenkins will serve as depth at left tackle for now, with occasional playing time on special teams or in special situations. They could, of course, change their mind at any point, especially if the Bears are officially eliminated from playoff contention and want to see what Jenkins can do.

Jenkins said his heart was racing as he played two snaps on extra points Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals — his first NFL appearance after he returned to practice in mid-November.

“It’s my first game, and that’s like the big stage,” Jenkins said. “Of course I was nervous a little bit. … But it’s just one little hump I had to get over and just had to get acclimated.”

Jenkins had a tough few months to get to that point.

He said the symptoms of his back injury were different from when he had a back issue as a senior in college.

Unbearable nerve pain shot down his legs, making it difficult to do even little things such as take steps and get up from sitting. He said symptoms lingered between working in the offseason program and training camp, and he wonders if trying to work through it — as football players are used to doing — made it worse.

“I probably pushed myself out there a little bit faster because I had that urge — I wanted to get back on the field; I don’t care if it’s hurt,” Jenkins said. “And maybe I did push myself a little bit too much and made it a little worse, and that’s what ended up going on to get surgery.”

Jenkins said he and the Bears exhausted other options before deciding on the August surgery. Jenkins hopes it solved the issue so his back won’t be a problem down the road.

Before he could physically practice, Jenkins attended Bears meetings for a couple of hours a day, during which he would write down the plays to mentally roll through in his head later, sometimes with the help of his fiancee. When he was able to get up and move, he would walk through the scenarios at home.

The early days of his recovery, when he was at Halas Hall for only a couple of hours a day, were the most difficult because he was itching to compete.

“It was kind of hard at the beginning, but then I started realizing it was something out of my control,” Jenkins said. “Mentally, I got past that and said, ‘Look, if I can’t do this physically, I’m going to get better mentally in the playbook and schemes and games against people we’re playing with and just keep on doing that.’ And that’s how I got over it mentally.”

Castillo said it’s now a matter of gaining experience in practice and from watching Peters.

“Right now the thing for him is just getting off the ball and getting to a spot,” Castillo said. “I’m talking about pass protection. Run game is a little easier than pass pro. … The key is, at the snap count, being able to get off the ball, being able to explode and get to that spot as quick as he can.

“That’s something that Jason is really good at that we worked on a long time ago and that he’s really mastered — being able to get off that football. So for me, that really helps my teaching to be able to have somebody I worked with before that they can see exactly how it’s done.”

Jenkins is willing to take that teaching for now as he waits for his next opportunity.

“Personally, I’m still waiting to see how it all unfolds,” Jenkins said. “Right now I’m still backing up JP. … Great player, even greater person, and just being able to learn and get the knowledge he’s sharing with us, just having that advantage as my career goes on, I feel like that’s a great thing for me.”

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