Agent: Weddle to rejoin Rams for playoffs
UNDATED (AP) — Safety Eric Weddle is coming out of retirement to rejoin the Los Angeles Rams for the playoffs.
The 37-year-old Weddle hasn’t played in the NFL since the 2019 season, but the Rams signed him to their practice squad Wednesday to address their glaring need at safety.
Leading tackler Jordan Fuller is out for the playoffs with a right ankle injury, and fellow starting safety Taylor Rapp is in the concussion protocol.
Weddle retired in February 2020 after one season with the Rams in which he made 108 tackles and called the defense’s signals.
The Rams return to practice Thursday. They host the Arizona Cardinals on Monday night.
In other NFL news:
— Packers outside linebacker Za’Darius Smith is practicing again and could return for the playoffs after missing nearly the entire regular season. Smith participated in the Packers’ workout Wednesday as they begin postseason preparations. Smith hasn’t played since the season opener due to a back issue.
— An extra week of games, close finishes and a non-election year helped propel the NFL to its highest regular-season ratings in six years. The 272 regular-season games averaged 17.1 million viewers across television and digital platforms, a 10% increase over last season.
Former Cubs, Red Sox pitcher Jon Lester announces retirement
UNDATED (AP) — Former Cubs and Red Sox pitcher Jon Lester has announced his retirement. The durable left-hander who won three World Series titles during 16 years in the majors told ESPN, “It’s kind of run its course.”
Lester finishes with a 200-117 record and a 3.66 ERA in 452 career games, including 451 starts. He also was a reliable postseason performer, compiling a 2.51 ERA in 26 appearances.
Lester helped Boston win the championship in 2007 and 2013 and did the same for the 2016 Cubs.
In other baseball news:
— The Rays say bullpen catcher Jean Ramirez died unexpectedly this week at the age of 28. The Rays didn’t release details of the death, which it said occurred Monday. Ramirez played three years in Tampa Bay’s minor league system before beginning a three-season stint as a bullpen catcher with the major league team.
— The Twins will retire the uniform number of former pitcher Jim Kaat, who was recently elected to the Hall of Fame. Kaat spent 13 seasons with the Twins and remains their all-time leader with 178 wins.
— The Orioles are moving the wall in left field back as much as 30 feet in an effort to make Camden Yards a bit easier on pitchers. The Orioles hit 122 home runs at home last year and 73 on the road. Baltimore’s pitchers allowed 155 homers at home, compared to just 103 on the road.
— Rachel Balkovec has been introduced as manager of the Yankees’ Low A affiliate in the Florida State League. In taking over the Tampa Tarpons, Balkovec will become the first female manager in the history of affiliated baseball, an appointment 10 years in the making for the former college softball player. Yankees general manager Brian Cashman says “the sky’s the limit” for the 34-year-old Balkovec, who has two master’s degrees and hopes to one day become a general manager herself.
T25 MEN’S BASKETBALL-NEWS
Krzyzewski misses Wake game…Ewing unavailable Thursday
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C (AP) — Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski (shuh-SHEF’-skee) isn’t coaching tonight’s game at Wake Forest due to an undisclosed illness. The school announced that the retiring Hall of Famer is out due to a “non-COVID-related virus.”
Associate head coach Jon Scheyer is the acting head coach for the eighth-ranked Blue Devils. Scheyer has been designated as Krzyzewski’s successor after this season.
Also, Georgetown basketball coach Patrick Ewing will miss the Hoyas’ game against visiting Butler on Thursday because of what his team said were D.C. Department of Health guidelines.
The news release announcing the former Georgetown and NBA star’s absence but did not offer any other details or explanation.
Georgetown said assistant Louis Orr would serve as the team’s acting coach “starting with the Butler game.”
Blackhawks promote Reichel
UNDATED (AP) — The Chicago Blackhawks’ top prospect is slated to make his NHL debut on Thursday against Montreal.
Lukas Reichel was added to Chicago’s taxi squad after he was recalled from Rockford of the AHL. Derek King has confirmed the 19-year-old forward will play Thursday.
Reichel was selected by the Blackhawks with the No. 17 pick in the 2020 NHL draft. He has 11 goals and nine assists in 20 games with the IceHogs.
In other NHL news:
— The Sabres have signed Michael Houser to a one-year, $750,000 contract and called up Aaron Dell from the minors to shore up their injury-depleted goaltending ranks. The signing comes with Buffalo adding goalies Ukko-Pekka Luukonen and Malcolm Subban to their injured list.
Djokovic: Not isolating after COVID infection was ‘error’
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Novak Djokovic says he knew he’d tested positive for COVID-19 when he attended a newspaper interview and photo shoot in Serbia last month.
The unvaccinated Djokovic acknowledged today that he made an “error of judgment” and should have immediately gone into isolation.
In a statement posted to his social media accounts, the tennis star also blamed “human error” by his support team for failing to declare that he had traveled in the two-week period before entering Australia. Upon arrival last week, his visa was revoked and then reinstated on Monday.
Giving false information on the form could be grounds for deportation.
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