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Digest: Hernandez to have his No. 17 retired by Mets this year

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Keith Hernandez will have his No. 17 retired by the New York Mets this summer to honor his seven seasons as a player and nearly three decades as a beloved broadcaster with the baseball franchise.

The Mets announced Tuesday that Hernandez will become the fourth player to have his uniform number retired by the team in a ceremony prior to a game July 9 against Miami.

Hernandez started his career with the Cardinals in 1974 and went into their Hall of Fame last year.

Hernandez’s No. 17 will stand at Citi Field in New York alongside Tom Seaver’s 41, Mike Piazza’s 31 and Jerry Koosman’s 36. (AP)

Balkovec first woman manager in MLB minors: Rachel Balkovec became the first woman hired to manage a minor league affiliate of a Major League Baseball team when she was promoted Tuesday by the New York Yankees to dugout boss of the Low A Tampa Tarpons.

The 34-year-old native of Omaha, Nebraska, joined the Yankees organization as a hitting coach in 2019, making her the first woman with that job full-time in affiliated baseball. She got her first position in pro ball with the Cardinals as a minor league strength and conditioning coach in 2012.

Balkovec, a former softball catcher at Creighton and New Mexico, moved from the Cardinals to the Houston Astros in 2016. She was hired as the Latin American strength and conditioning coordinator, a position for which she learned Spanish, and later became the strength and conditioning coach at Double-A Corpus Christi. (AP)

Georgia tops final AP Top 25 poll: Georgia is No. 1 in the final Associated Press college football poll of the season after winning its second national title Monday by beating Alabama.

The Bulldogs received all 61 first-place votes.

The Tide finished No. 2, giving the Southeastern Conference the top two teams in the final rankings for the third time since 2011.

Michigan was No. 3, the Wolverines’ best final ranking since winning the national championship in 1997 and their first top-10 finish since 2006.

No. 4 Cincinnati, which became the first team from outside the Power Five conferences to reach the playoff, finished with its best final ranking. So did No. 5 Baylor; the Bears’ previous best finish in the AP poll was No. 7 in 2014.

Ohio State was No. 6 and Oklahoma State finished seventh. Notre Dame was eighth, Michigan State was ninth and Oklahoma was 10th, giving the Big 12 three top 10 teams. (AP)

Reyna, Weah uncertain for US soccer: Midfielder Gio Reyna and forward Tim Weah remain uncertain for the United States’ next three World Cup qualifiers, which start Jan. 27 with a match against El Salvador at Columbus, Ohio.

Reyna has not played in any matches since injuring his right hamstring during the opening qualifier at El Salvador on Sept. 2.

Weah, who scored in the 1-1 draw at Jamaica in a November qualifier, injured a thigh during training with Lille on Dec. 3, two days after his last match. (AP)

Watson gets starter honor at Masters: Six years after Tom Watson played the Masters for the 43rd time, the two-time champion returns in April to hit the ceremonial tee shot alongside Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player.

Watson, who held off Nicklaus in his Masters victories in 1977 and 1981, becomes the 11th player to be an honorary starter dating to 1963. (AP)

Shiffrin wins World Cup slalom race: Mikaela Shiffrin impressed with a come-from-behind win in a night race Tuesday to send a strong signal to her Slovakian rival Petra Vlhova in the last women’s World Cup slalom before the Beijing Olympics.

Racing on the challenging Planai course in Schladming, Austria, the American improved from fifth place, posting the fastest time with an all-attacking run to beat first-run leader Vlhova by 0.15 seconds.

Vlhova has been dominating women’s slalom this season, winning five of the seven races and locking up the season title with two races to spare. (AP)

Former Olympian Lendore killed in car accident: Deon Lendore, an Olympic bronze medal-winning sprinter for Trinidad & Tobago and former NCAA champion at Texas A&M, was killed in a head-on collision in Texas, state police said. He was 29.

Lendore, a volunteer assistant coach at Texas A&M, died Monday after his car drifted across the center line, sideswiped a vehicle and then collided with a sport-utility vehicle, said Sgt. Bryan Washko, a Texas Department of Public Safety spokesman. Texas A&M coach Pat Henry said Lendore was driving home from practice in College Station, Texas, when the crash happened.

Lendore died at the scene. The driver of the SUV, a 65-year-old woman, was taken to a hospital with serious injuries, DPS said. The driver of the vehicle sideswiped by Lendore before the collision was not injured. The cause of the crash was under investigation Tuesday.

Lendore ran in the 2012, 2016 and 2020 Olympics and anchored Trinidad & Tobago to a bronze medal in the 1,600-meter relay in London in 2012. In 2014, he went undefeated through 14 races at 400 meters while winning individual NCAA indoor and outdoor championships. (AP)

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