Update on the latest sports

MLB-ASTROS-VERLANDER SURGERY

Astros’ Verlander to have elbow surgery, miss rest of season

HOUSTON (AP) — Houston Astros ace Justin Verlander will undergo Tommy John surgery and miss the rest of the season.

The reigning AL Cy Young Award winner announced the news Saturday on his Instagram account in a 1½-minute video. He said he felt something in his elbow during a recent simulated game, consulted with doctors and determined that the surgery would be the best option.

Verlander has been on the injured list with a right forearm strain.

He threw to hitters on Wednesday for the first time since he was injured in the team’s opener on July 24. He threw 50 pitches in the bullpen before throwing about 25 pitches to hitters in two simulated innings.

Elsewhere in the majors:

— Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire announced his retirement prior to Detroit’s game against the Cleveland Indians. The announcement came in an abruptly called video conference around 5 p.m. General manager Al Avila said the retirement was effective immediately. Bench coach Lloyd McClendon is taking over as manager for the rest of the season. This was Gardenhire’s third season as Detroit’s manager after he previously had a successful run with the Minnesota Twins. Detroit was 21-29 heading into Saturday night’s game and was unlikely to make the postseason. Gardenhire turns 63 next month. He says he hasn’t been feeling well and needs to take care of himself.

T25 FOOTBALL-SCHEDULE

Book, No. 7 Notre Dame run by USF 52-0 to extend home streak

UNDATED (AP) — Ian Book ran for three first-half touchdowns and No. 7 Notre Dame won its 20th straight home game 52-0 against South Florida. The Fighting Irish (2-0) led 35-0 at halftime and for the second year in a row posted a 52-point shutout.

Book capped the opening drive with 4-yard touchdown run and freshman Chris Tyree scored from a yard out about five minutes later. It never got better for the first-year coach Jeff Scott’s Bulls (1-1), who were a late add to Notre Dame’s schedule after the Irish joined the Atlantic Coast Conference for this off season in a pandemic.

In other Top 25 results:

— Gerrid Doaks scored four touchdowns, including a career-high three rushing TDs, and No. 13 Cincinnati beat Austin Peay (pee) 55-20 in the Bearcats’ season opener. Desmond Ridder passed for 196 yards and two TDs for Cincinnati in a game that originally was scheduled for Sept. 3. Cincinnati has high hopes for this year after it went 11-3 last season and ranked No. 21 in the final AP poll. It quickly jumped all over the Governors. Austin Peay won’t play again until spring when the Ohio Valley Conference plans to play a seven-game league schedule.

— Elijah Mitchell rushed for 164 yards, including the winning touchdown in overtime, and No. 19 Louisiana-Lafayette beat Georgia State 34-31. The Ragin’ Cajuns were ranked for the first time since 1943 following last week’s 20-point win at Iowa State. Louisiana-Lafayette was a 17-point favorite, but couldn’t seal the victory until Mitchell scampered 12 yards around right end for the final score.

— Kenny Pickett threw for two touchdowns and ran for another, and No. 25 Pittsburgh’s defense did the rest as the Panthers beat Syracuse 21-10. Pitt limited the Orange to 171 total yards, 69 of them coming on backup quarterback Rex Culpepper’s second-quarter touchdown strike to a streaking Taj Harris. The Panthers sacked Culpepper and starter Tommy DeVito seven times, rarely letting the quarterbacks get comfortable. Pitt has won 14 of its last 16 meetings with the Orange.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL-NEWS

Big Ten releases its football schedule

UNDATED (AP) — The Big Ten has released the schedule for its eight-week football season that will start the weekend of Oct. 24.

Week 1 features Nebraska at Ohio State, two teams that were at the forefront of the grassroots push to play fall ball in the Big Ten. Michigan will play at Minnesota in the Little Brown Jug rivalry to open the season. In Week 2, Ohio State will play at Penn State on Halloween. The regular season concludes as usual with the Buckeyes and Wolverines facing off on Dec. 12. Michigan and Ohio State have played 103 times, but never later than November.

The Big Ten championship game will be played Dec. 19 in Indianapolis, matching the east and West Division champions. The conference has said it will give all its teams the opportunity to play on Dec. 19. The tentative plan is to match teams with similar finishes in the respective division standings.

Last month the Big Ten decided against playing football in the fall because of concerns about COVID-19. It reversed that decision this week.

In other college football news:

— Florida State coach Mike Norvell has tested positive for COVID-19 and will not coach the Seminoles in-person this week as they prepare for Miami. Norvell released a statement Saturday saying he tested positive a day earlier but is feeling fine. He said his wife and daughter tested negative Saturday. Florida State athletic director David Coburn said Norvell is isolating, which lasts a minimum of 10 days. Deputy head coach Chris Thomsen is taking over Norvell’s duties, but the first-year head coach said he still intends to remain involved. Florida State lost its season opener at home to Georgia Tech last week and was off Saturday. The Seminoles play at the rival Hurricanes next Saturday.

NHL-STANLEY CUP FINAL

Stars and Lightning meet in Game 1

EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) — The Dallas Stars and Tampa Bay Lightning face off Saturday in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final in Edmonton, Alberta.

The Stars are in the final for the first time since 2000. The Lightning eliminated the Islanders in six games in the Eastern Conference final to join them. They last got to this point in 2015.

It’s a matchup of teams that turn defense into offense. The Stars and Lightning both have defensemen who can provide plenty of points. Defenseman Miro Heiskanen is the Stars’ leading scorer this postseason with five goals and 17 assists. Dallas defensemen have combined for 13 goals and 40 assists, the most points during a postseason in franchise history.

Victor Hedman has six goals in Tampa Bay’s last eight games. His nine goals are the most by a Lightning defenseman in the postseason, and three shy of the NHL record.

Tampa Bay has several key players dealing with injuries, including captain Steven Stamkos, who has been ruled out for Game 1.

NHL-NEWS

Bettman: Next NHL season could start in December or January

EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) — Commissioner Gary Bettman says he wouldn’t be surprised if the next NHL season begins after the tentatively planned Dec. 1 start date. Bettman said Saturday in his annual pre-Stanley Cup Final news conference there is still too much uncertainty to know what that season will look like. He refused to speculate on the possibility of an all-Canadian division given the closure of the U.S.-Canada border.

The NHL has seven teams in Canada and 24 in the U.S. until Seattle is set to become the 32nd franchise in 2021.

Canada did not allow Major League Baseball’s Blue Jays to play in Toronto this season because of cross-border travel.

NASCAR-BRISTOL

Ryan Blaney hopes to avoid playoff elimination at Bristol

BRISTOL, Tenn. (AP) — Ryan Blaney is determined to avoid elimination from the NASCAR playoffs — a daunting task that just might require an outright win Saturday night at Bristol Motor Speedway, where four drivers will be knocked from title contention.

Blaney has plummeted to last in the 16-driver field. William Byron, Cole Custer, Matt DiBenedetto and Blaney are the four drivers below the cutline headed into the knockout race. It marks a collapse for Blaney, who spent 13 weeks ranked fourth or higher in the Cup standings and was seventh at the start of the playoffs.

Officials have sold all 30,000 tickets available to spectators.

TENNIS-ITALIAN OPEN

Djokovic loses his cool again during win at Italian Open

ROME (AP) — Rafael Nadal’s first tournament in seven months has ended with a 6-2, 7-5 loss to Diego Schwartzman in the quarterfinals of the Italian Open. Nadal had never lost to the 15th-ranked Schwartzman in nine previous meetings.

Novak Djokovic (NOH’-vak JOH’-kuh-vich) lost his cool again less than two weeks after getting defaulted from the U.S. Open. This time it came midway through a 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 win over German qualifier Dominik Koepfer. Djokovic slammed and broke his racket to the red clay in anger after getting broken at love to even the second set at 3-3. Djokovic received a warning from the chair umpire.

The 97th-ranked Koepfer, who screamed at himself in frustration throughout the match, was also warned for misbehavior early in the third set.

Top-seeded Simona Halep became the first semifinalist at the Italian Open after Kazakh opponent Yulia Putintseva retired midway through their quarterfinal match due to a lower back injury. Halep was ahead 6-2, 2-0 when Putintseva decided she was in too much pain to continue. Putintseva had already taken an off-court medical timeout between sets.

CYCLING-TOUR DE FRANCE

21-year-old Slovenian set to win Sunday

LA PLANCHE DES BELLES FILLES, France (AP) — A 21-year-old from Slovenia is all but guaranteed to become the youngest post-World War II winner of the Tour de France.

Tadek Pogacar will roll into Paris Sunday in what is traditionally a ceremonial last stage with a lead of 59 seconds over fellow Slovenian Primoz Roglic. Australian Richie Porte will complete the podium.

Not since British riders Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome finished 1-2 at the 2012 Tour has one nation taken the top two spots.

PREAKNESS-FIELD

Ky. Derby winner Authentic works out in prep for Preakness

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Authentic has had his first major workout since winning the Kentucky Derby as he prepares for the Preakness next month. Authentic’s posted the fastest time out of 38 horses. Trainer Bob Baffert said Authentic has been handling things well after the Derby.

Baffert’s other horse, Thousand Words, was scratched in the paddock from the Derby after he reared up and fell on his side.

Baffert said both of his horses would complete one more workout before shipping to Baltimore for the Preakness on Oct. 3.

Art Collector, who was knocked out of the Derby because of a minor injury before he could be entered. Art Collector is likely to be among the favorites for the 1 3/16-mile Preakness.

Categories: National Sports

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