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Puerto Rican Twins don No. 21 in tribute to Roberto Clemente

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Puerto Rican Twins Don No. 21 In Tribute To Roberto Clemente
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Sometime soon, it’s Carlos Correa’s hope that No. 21 is retired league-wide, that Roberto Clemente’s jersey number is given the same treatment as Jackie Robinson’s 42.

While that day hasn’t come yet, Correa and some of his teammates delighted in being able to don the number of the Puerto Rican legend on Thursday, which was Roberto Clemente Day around Major League Baseball. Correa, Jose Miranda, Jovani Moran and Jorge López, the team’s four Puerto Rican players, all wore special jerseys with No. 21 on the back. So did reliever Emilio Pagán, who is of Puerto Rican descent, and Byron Buxton, the team’s Roberto Clemente Award nominee.

“It means everything. The guy that inspired me to dream big and play this game. We honor him today,” Correa said. “Everything he did on and off the field, truly an example for everyone to follow and a fellow Puerto Rican. It’s a very special day for me.”

Clemente became the first Latin American player enshrined into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Over the course of his 18-year-career — all with the Pittsburgh Pirates — Clemente was a 12-time all-star. He finished his career with 3,000 hits.

But for all his achievements on the field, he is perhaps just as well known for his contributions off the field. Clemente’s life was tragically cut short at age 38 when he died in a plane crash while on his way to deliver aid to earthquake victims in Nicaragua.

The Roberto Clemente Award is given to the player who “best represents the game of baseball through extraordinary character, community involvement, philanthropy and positive contributions, both on and off the field.”

“You grow up in Puerto Rico learning the history of Roberto Clemente and how great he was,” Correa said. “All the people he touched off the field is what inspired me the most, and that’s the reason why I have a foundation to help others, because my idol, Roberto Clemente, did it. I just always wanted to be like him.”

Miranda, who said he grew up hearing about Clemente from his parents and his grandfather, called it an honor to be able to wear the number, a number that perhaps one day in the future will never be worn again.

“I feel like Roberto Clemente is to us Latin players what Jackie Robinson (is) to African-American players,” Correa said. “He’s the one that made us believe and dream that we could be here playing in the big leagues for the world to see. That’s really special. I truly believe his number, at some point, should be retired as well.”

INJURY UPDATES

After a multi-week trip to the Twins’ facility in Fort Myers, Fla., catcher Ryan Jeffers was back in the Twins’ clubhouse on Thursday, nearly set to begin a rehab assignment with the Triple-A St. Paul Saints.

Jeffers said he was planning on serving as the Saints’ designated hitter Friday. While it’s an important step in his rehab process — he had surgery on his fractured thumb in July — Jeffers has yet to catch in a game, another big hurdle.

“The thumb is no longer the limiting factor,” he said. “It’s just getting my body back into baseball shape after two months off from doing baseball stuff. … Catching nine innings again is going to be tiring. Normally you have spring training to ramp up and do all that. We’ll see how my body responds, and go from there.”

Outfielder Trevor Larnach started a rehab assignment with the Saints on Thursday. Larnach has been out since late June after having surgery to repair a core muscle injury.

Larnach will still have to play in the outfield before the Twins make a decision on a potential return.

“I know the games are important but also we’ll bring guys back when we think they can help us, and I’m not quite ready to put a timeline on either of them yet,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli said.

BRIEFLY

Bailey Ober (groin), who started a rehab game with the Saints on Sunday, could be an option to start the series opener in Cleveland on Friday. The Twins have not announced a starter for that game, but Baldelli said he believes Ober is “ready to go” and does not need another rehab outing. … Josh Winder will start one of the games in Saturday’s afternoon doubleheader against the Guardians. The Twins have not announced a starter for the other game, but Louie Varland is a likely candidate. Joe Ryan will start on Sunday, and Sonny Gray will pitch Monday in Cleveland. … Max Kepler has been dealing with wrist soreness that has hampered him while swinging in addition to a shin contusion. He has not started a game since Sept. 11. … Luis Arraez (hamstring) was not in the starting lineup against a lefty on Thursday, but the Twins believe he will be OK and ready to contribute soon.

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Nearing a return, Twins outfielder Trevor Larnach suffers setback with wrist

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Nearing A Return, Twins Outfielder Trevor Larnach Suffers Setback With Wrist
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Nearly three months after having a bilateral repair to address a core muscle injury, outfielder Trevor Larnach was on the verge of returning to the Twins — possibly even this weekend. He felt great, he said, and he was excited to get back to try to help an injury-depleted Twins’ roster.

And then, another setback, the latest twist to a frustrating season for Larnach. This one appears as if it will end his season, though the Twins have not yet made that announcement. During a rehab game with the Triple-A Saints this week, Larnach took a swing and felt something with his wrist.

“The next day, I couldn’t hold a bat,” he said. “Ever since then, it’s been rehab again, so as frustrating as it is, there’s not much I can do about it.”

Larnach, 25, played five rehab games for the Saints, the last coming on Sept. 21, before he was shut down. He was in the Twins’ clubhouse on Sunday morning, though not because an activation is near, manager Rocco Baldelli said.

“He’s here more to get looked at, spend a little time around the guys, too, but mainly to get seen by the medical guys,” Baldelli said.

Larnach has played in just 51 games this season for the Twins after being recalled from Triple-A, where he started the season, in early April. Larnach dealt with a groin strain in May before landing on the IL again in late June. He hit .231 with a .712 OPS, but he spent most of the season mired in the rehab process down at the Twins’ complex in Fort Myers, Fla.

While outside doctors initially gave him an optimistic outlook of six weeks to heal after his core muscle surgery, he quickly came to realize that he would need more time than that to recover after his late-June surgery.

“You learn really quick that that’s not really even reasonable, especially for a professional athlete trying to play at their highest level,” Larnach said. “It wasn’t really relevant to me. I had to take a step back to look at what I needed to do to feel really good. I did that, and I learned a lot from it.”

The rehab process, he said, had him working constantly, with the Twins’ training staff, at home on his own and with specialists as he tried to get back. Should he be healthy enough, Larnach said he has given some thought to the possibility of playing winter ball to make up for some of the playing time he missed this season.

“Trust me: I wasn’t there for a vacation. I was there to try and be healthy as soon as possible. I learned from it,” Larnach said. “I felt great coming back. I thought I did a really, really good job going through that whole process. But then this thing was just kind of really, really unexpected.”

LEWIS UPDATE

Royce Lewis, another big piece of the Twins’ future, was in the clubhouse over the weekend, reuniting with his teammates and writing hand-written thank-you notes to those who had helped him this season.

The 23-year-old shortstop has been rehabbing in Fort Myers after undergoing a second surgery on his anterior cruciate ligament in June. At this point, he hasn’t been doing much activity, though he said he’s in a stage where he’s slowly starting to transition to add in more. Lewis plans to stay in Fort Myers through October before heading home to continue his rehab.

Lewis missed all of last season after tearing his ACL before spring training. After a year-long rehab process, Lewis returned healthy and performed well both at Triple-A and his brief taste of the majors —  he slashed .300/.317/.550 with a .867 OPS in 12 games with the Twins — before reinjuring his knee during a collision with the outfield wall.

“Obviously (the) same injury, but totally different. The procedure was different. Everything about it feels different,” Lewis said. “I feel a lot better than I did before. I don’t know why that is, but I’ll take it.”

BRIEFLY

The Twins played a video tribute to Kurt Suzuki, who is set to retire after this season. Suzuki played for the Twins for three seasons between 2014-16. The 38-year-old catcher has played for the Angels the past two seasons.

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Rihanna will headline the Super Bowl halftime show

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Rihanna Will Headline The Super Bowl Halftime Show
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Rihanna will be the “Only Girl” at the Super Bowl halftime show.

The “Umbrella” singer announced her new gig Sunday, sharing a photo on social media of a hand holding a football in the air that was then retweeted by the NFL and Roc Nation, which has a long-term deal with the NFL to “advise” on the halftime show performer.

With week 3 of the NFL underway, Super Bowl 2023 is still almost five months out but the headlining gig was already cause for rampant rumor-mongering.

Taylor Swift, who has a new album due out in October, was the talk of the town late last week, but reportedly passed until she rerecords all of her albums to get out from under the control of former manager Scooter Braun.

The “Shut Up and Drive” singer was previously offered the stage at the 2020 championship, but turned down the job in support of Colin Kaepernick.

“I just couldn’t be a sellout, I couldn’t be an enabler,” she told Vogue in October 2019. “There’s things within that organization that I do not agree with at all, and I was not about to go and be of service to them in any way.”

Super Bowl LVII is scheduled to be played on Feb. 12 at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Ariz.

Last year’s show was headlined by Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre, Eminem, Mary J. Blige, Kendrick Lamar and 50 Cent at SoFi Stadium.

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Week 3 updates: Boos out at Soldier Field as Chicago Bears trail Houston Texans — and they could be without RB David Montgomery

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Week 3 Updates: Boos Out At Soldier Field As Chicago Bears Trail Houston Texans — And They Could Be Without Rb David Montgomery
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The 1-1 Chicago Bears will host the 0-1-1 Houston Texans at Soldier Field in a Week 3 matchup. Here’s the latest updates.

Get our free Bears alerts | Get Brad Biggs’ 10 thoughts on the Bears first | More Bears news

At halftime

As the clock ran out in the second quarter with the Texans leading the Bears 14-13 some boos could be heard across Soldier Field.

Bears quarterback Justin Fields completed just 4 of 11 passes for 45 yards, no touchdowns, an interception and an 11.6 passer rating in the half, which ended with the Texans’ third sack as time ran out. The Bears had timeouts to use but didn’t to try to get in a deep shot.

Playing without David Montgomery, who left in the first quarter with right knee and ankle injuries, running back Khalil Herbert rushed for 64 yards and rookie Trestan Ebner rushed for 23 yards. Fields also had 47 yards rushing.

The Bears were threatening to retake the lead late in the second quarter but couldn’t come up with a big play.

On third-and-5, Fields hit tight end Cole Kmet with a 24-yard pass — Kmet’s first catch of the year — to get to the Texans’ 27-yard line. But the Bears offense stalled three plays later when Jerry Hughes sacked Fields for a loss of 9 yards. Bears kicker Cairo Santos made a 50-yard field instead to cut it 14-13.

Santos made a 47-yard field goal on the game’s opening drive for a 3-0 lead. And Herbert scored on an 11-yard touchdown run after Montgomery left the game to make it 10-0.

But Davis Mills’ 4-yard touchdown pass to Jordan Akins cut the Bears’ lead to 10-7. That drive included a 52-yard pass to Chris Moore.

And the Texans took a 14-10 lead on Dameon Pierce’s 1-yard touchdown run with 7:32 to play in the second quarter. Pierce had four carries for 41 yards on the drive, which started with Desmond King’s 30-yard punt return.

Bears safety Eddie Jackson forced a fumble and had an interception in the first quarter.

The Texans recovered the fumble, but the pick came at a key moment. With the Texans threatening to take a lead at the Bears’ 7-yard line, cornerback Kindle Vildor broke up Davis Mills’ pass to Brandin Cooks in the end zone. Jackson grabbed it out of the air but stepped out of the back of the end zone. The Bears got the ball on their 20.

Jackson’s pick came after Fields threw a pass to Kmet that Texans safety Jalen Pitre intercepted.

Injury update

David Montgomery went down with a right leg injury midway through the first quarter. After the trainers tended to him for a few minutes, he walked off the field on his own into the medical tent. He then left the tent to go to the locker room.

The Bears announced Montgomery has a knee and ankle injury and is doubtful to return. Wide receiver Byron Pringle also is doubtful to return because of a calf injury.

Running back Khalil Herbert entered the game after Montgomery left and had carries of 8 and 11 yards and then scored on an 11-yard touchdown run to put the Bears up 10-0 midway through the first quarter.

Week 3 inactives announced

Bears cornerback Jaylon Johnson will miss Sunday’s game against the Texans with a quad injury he suffered in practice Thursday.

But linebacker Roquan Smith, who missed practice all week with a hip injury, will play.

Linebacker Matt Adams, safety Dane Cruikshank and rookie wide receiver Velus Jones Jr. all are inactive with hamstring injuries. Tight end Ryan Griffin will sit out with an Achilles injury, and offensive lineman Ja’Tyre Carter also is inactive.

Johnson’s absence is big for a young Bears secondary. Opposing teams largely have stayed away from targeting Johnson, instead going after rookie Kyler Gordon, who moves between outside cornerback and nickel, and Kindle Vildor. Gordon had a rough night against Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers in Week 2.

For the Texans, tight end Brevin Jordan, wide receiver Tyler Johnson, defensive back Isaac Yiadom, linebacker Jake Hansen, offensive lineman Austin Deculus and defensive lineman Kurt Hinish are inactive.

Soldier Field guide — and a weather report

There’s a slight chance of rain in Sunday’s forecast, but nowhere near the amount of precipitation fans endured in the Week 1 win over the 49ers (so, no Slip ‘N Slide celebrations this time around). The expected high is set for 69 degrees, with wind of the WNW at 19 mph.

Chicago experiences higher temperatures longer than outlying suburbs due to the heat-island effect. Its location next to Lake Michigan’s warm waters explains why the city and nearby suburbs freeze later in the year than their farther-out counterparts.

Locally, the National Weather Service’s Climate Prediction Center is forecasting temperatures leaning above normal and “equal chances” of above or below precipitation from October through December.

If you’re headed to Soldier Field, here’s our guide — including where (and what) to tailgate. And no, you won’t be hearing the Bear Raid siren this year.

OC defends the Bears’ run-pass balance

The comparisons were all over social media this week.

Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields has 28 pass attempts in two games this season. Every other team in the league has at least 28 completions and 52 attempts.

The Bears’ measly passing-game numbers, which total 15 completions and 191 yards, have dominated talk, with coach Matt Eberflus saying the Bears need to strive for a better balance in the running and passing games.

Offensive coordinator Luke Getsy understands it: “I love to throw because I’m a quarterback guy, right?”

And surely Getsy knows Fields needs to throw to develop in his second season. But Getsy also believes in following a plan tailored to what a defense is presenting them. Read the full story here.

Latest stadium news from Arlington Heights

Arlington Heights officials rejected a petition to ban village financial incentives for Chicago Bears or any other business, stating that the petition didn’t have enough valid signatures — and warning that such a move would hurt businesses and taxpayers.

The petition calls for the village to create an “Anti-Corporate Welfare Ordinance” that would prohibit any financial or other incentive to a business to operate in the village. The petition was submitted by Americans for Prosperity Illinois, part of a libertarian group backed by the conservative Koch brothers. Read the full story here and read all our coverage here.

Miss anything this week? Catch up on our coverage.

  • 5 things to watch in the Bears-Texans game — plus our Week 3 predictions
  • Column: Patience is required to evaluate QB Justin Fields — especially with the Bears offense around him
  • Bears QB Justin Fields says ‘my job is not to call pass plays’ after attempting only 11 passes in a lopsided loss
  • 12 eye-catching numbers as the Bears prepare to face the Texans
  • Column: Justin Fields apologized to Bears fans. It was mature and sincere — but also unnecessary.
  • Bears Q&A with Brad Biggs: Do the coaches doubt Justin Fields as a passer? What is with Kyler Gordon’s rookie struggles?

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Three shot in St. Paul Saturday night at large gathering on White Bear Avenue

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Three Shot In St. Paul Saturday Night At Large Gathering On White Bear Avenue
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St. Paul police are investigating a shooting Saturday night in which three people were shot at a strip mall where a large group of people were gathered, several of them reportedly under the influence or inebriated.

None of the injuries appeared to be life-threatening, police say.

About 11:30 p.m. officers were called to the 1600 block of White Bear Avenue on a report of a man shot. When the arrived they found two additional shooting victims, according to police Sgt. Mike Ernster.

All three had gunshot wounds in their lower extremities, such as their legs and buttocks, and were taken to the hospital, Ernster said.

A fourth man was treated for a laceration to his head. It wasn’t clear whether the cut came from a fight or a fall from the confusion when the shooting started, Ernster said.

The location of the shooting was at a strip mall that holds an event center where more than 300 people can gather. It was unclear what type of event, if any, was being held, Ernster said, but a large number of people were at the location when police arrived. Officers said some of those they encountered were under the influence or inebriated.

As of Sunday the shootings were still under investigation.

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Tua Tagovailoa exits Dolphins-Bills game after late hit, is questionable to return

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Tua Tagovailoa Exits Dolphins-Bills Game After Late Hit, Is Questionable To Return
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Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa left the team’s game against the Buffalo Bills on Sunday after a late hit that resulted in a roughing-the-passer penalty deep into the first half.

Tagovailoa escaped pressure on a third-and-3 play right before the two-minute warning, threw a pass that was completed to wide receiver Jaylen Waddle, and was pushed to the ground after the throw by linebacker Matt Milano. The back of Tagovailoa’s head banged against the ground in a whiplash effect.

Tagovailoa was walked off the field and into the locker room, under his own power, with trainers alongside him. He is officially questionable to return with a head injury.

The Dolphins have a quick turnaround for Thursday Night Football, facing the Bengals on the road in Cincinnati and Tagovailoa’s availability for that game could be in doubt.

The Dolphins and Bills were tied at 14 at the time of the injury and going into halftime. Tagovailoa was 8 of 10 for 76 yards with a touchdown pass when he exited. Backup quarterback Teddy Bridgewater then entered for Miami’s third-year signal-caller.

It’s the third consecutive time Tagovailoa gets hurt in a meeting with the Bills. In last year’s Week 2 meeting in Miami Gardens, an A.J. Epenesa hit sidelined Tagovailoa with fractured ribs and put him on short-term injured reserve to miss the ensuing three weeks. In the 2021 Oct. 31 game in Orchard Park, Tagovailoa finished the game but came away with a finger injury on his throwing hand that cost him the next one and a half games.

The Bills struck first on their opening drive Sunday that was capped by a fourth-down 1-yard pass from Buffalo quarterback Josh Allen to an open Devin Singletary in the end zone. Allen was 6 of 6 for 70 yards on the opening series after his first completion, a 28-yard strike over the middle to Stefon Diggs, was nearly a fumble lost with Diggs losing the back. It was ruled that cornerback Xavien Howard barely contacted the receiver.

The Dolphins defense set the offense up to tie later in the first quarter. Jevon Holland broke free on a safety blitz for a strip-sack on Allen, and outside linebacker Melvin Ingram recovered the fumble at the Buffalo 6-yard line. Miami scored on a Chase Edmonds plunge from a yard away after a pass to Trent Sherfield got the team to the 1-yard line.

Buffalo responded early in the second quarter with Allen again finding another South Florida product, Isaiah McKenzie, wide open for a short touchdown pass. The Bills picked up the Dolphins blitz on third-and-goal from the 8-yard line, with Singletary blocking Holland in the backfield.

Tagovailoa responded with a nine-play, 83-yard drive yard that was capped by a touchdown pass to practice-squad elevation River Cracraft, his second touchdown in as many weeks up from the practice squad. Tagovailoa threw a dart to Cracraft for the 11-yard scoring strike after also completing chunk plays to Waddle and Tyreek Hill earlier in the drive.

This story will be updated.

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Ravens LT Patrick Mekari, OLB Justin Houston, DT Michael Pierce exit game vs. Patriots as injury woes continue

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Ravens Lt Patrick Mekari, Olb Justin Houston, Dt Michael Pierce Exit Game Vs. Patriots As Injury Woes Continue
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Ravens left tackle Patrick Mekari (ankle), outside linebacker Justin Houston (groin) and defensive tackle Michael Pierce (left arm) suffered injuries during the first half of Sunday’s Week 3 matchup against the New England Patriots, continuing a worrying trend after last season’s injury-marred season.

Mekari suffered a left ankle injury during the first quarter, further depleting an already banged-up offensive line.

Baltimore was facing a third-and-5 with 9:42 on the clock when Mekari stepped on running back Justice Hill’s foot while blocking a New England defender. Mekari punched the field in frustration before being taken to the medical tent and was later carted to the locker room with his shoe and sock removed form his left leg.

Mekari, who signed a three-year extension Dec. 30 and has served as a versatile piece of the offensive line since joining Baltimore as an undrafted free agent in 2019, is questionable to return Sunday.

With Mekari out, the Ravens are down to their fourth-string left tackle. Ronnie Stanley is still working his way back from an ankle injury, while Ja’Wuan James suffered a season-ending torn Achilles tendon in Baltimore’s season opener against the New York Jets.

Rookie Daniel Faalele, who did not play a single snap at left tackle at Minnesota, replaced Mekari and allowed a sack during the Ravens’ 11-play, 69-yard scoring drive that ended with quarterback Lamar Jackson throwing a 5-yard touchdown pass to Mark Andrews with 4:14 left.

Early in the second quarter, the Ravens announced that Houston was questionable to return with a groin injury. The Ravens are also thin at outside linebacker, as Steven Means suffered a season-ending torn Achilles tendon last week and Tyus Bowser and rookie David Ojabo are recovering from the same injury. Brandon Copeland, who was signed to the practice squad on Wednesday and elevated for Sunday’s game, replaced Houston.

Pierce, who signed a three-year deal with the Ravens in the offseason, suffered an apparent left arm injury after trying to tackle Patriots running back Rhamondre Stevenson with 7:38 left in the second quarter. Pierce walked to the sideline under his own power while grabbing his left arm and was eventually carted off into the locker room. He is questionable to return.

This story will be updated.

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