CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Big Ten Freshman of the Year Kofi Cockburn is returning to Illinois for his sophomore season.

The 7-foot, 290-pound Cockburn posted “IM BACK” with a graphic on Twitter on Saturday. The announcement means the Illini will have their top two players return from a team that was in line to make the NCAA Tournament last season, after all-conference guard Ayo Dosunmu said Friday he plans to return for his junior year rather than turn pro.

Cockburn, who’s from Jamaica and played at Oak Hill Academy in Virginia, averaged 13.3 points and 8.8 rebounds — a record for an Illinois freshman.

The Illini have four starters returning from a team that went 21-10 overall and 13-7 in conference play. They were in line for their first NCAA appearance before the season got shut down because because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

BASEBALL

White Sox place Anderson on IL

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Chicago White Sox placed shortstop Tim Anderson on the injured list with a strained right groin and recalled catcher Yermin Mercedes from their taxi squad before Saturday night’s game against the Kansas City Royals.

Anderson had two of the White Sox’s four hits before leaving in the seventh inning Friday night with a sore hip. He was hitting .333 through the first seven games after leading the majors with a .335 average last season.

Leury Garcia started at shortstop Saturday night and was batting seventh. The 27-year-old Mercedes has yet to make his major league debut. He spent last season with Double-A Birmingham and Triple-A Charlotte, hitting .317 with 23 homers and 80 RBIs in 95 games.

Cubs scratch Bryant with illness

CHICAGO — Chicago Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant was scratched because of gastrointestinal issues.

Bryant was slated to play third and lead off against Pittsburgh on Saturday night. Ian Happ took his place on top of the order, and David Bote stepped in at third.

The 28-year-old Bryant is off to a tough start, batting .120 in his first six games.

Angels’ Trout welcomes 1st child

ANAHEIM, Calif. — Three-time AL Most Valuable Player Mike Trout is now a first-time dad.

The Los Angeles Angels center fielder and his wife, Jessica, announced the birth of their first child Saturday, a boy named Beckham Aaron Trout.

The baby was born Thursday afternoon and weighed in at 7 pounds, 10 ounces. Little Beckham’s middle name is undoubtedly a tribute to Aaron Cox, Jessica’s brother and Mike’s good friend, who died in 2018.

FOOTBALL

Chargers’ sign Bosa to top-dollar deal

COSTA MESA, Calif. — Joey Bosa has become the NFL’s highest-paid defensive player after signing a five-year contract extension with the Los Angeles Chargers on Saturday.

Bosa and the Chargers reached agreement on a new deal Tuesday night.

The five-year extension is worth $135 million, which includes $78 million guaranteed at signing and $102 million overall. The deal eclipses the five-year, $125-million extension that Cleveland’s Myles Garrett signed two weeks ago. That contract included $100 million guaranteed for Garrett, a defensive end who was the top pick in 2017.

Cowboys release kicker Forbath

FRISCO, Texas — The Dallas Cowboys released Kai Forbath on Saturday, clearing the way for Greg Zuerlein to be their kicker in 2020. Forbath signed a one-year contract in March after making all 10 kicks as the midseason replacement for a struggling Brett Maher in 2019.

Zuerlein signed a three-year contract with $2.3 million guaranteed just a few days later and was reunited with special teams coach John Fassel, who left the Los Angeles Rams and joined new Dallas coach Mike McCarthy’s staff.

Giants extend Gates after Solder opts out

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Less than a week after left tackle Nate Solder opted out of the season, the New York Giants extended the contract of third-year tackle Nick Gates.

The Giants announced Saturday that Gates had signed a two-year extension worth at least $6 million.

The Giants also confirmed they had signed placekicker Chandler Catanzaro. He reached an agreement with the team earlier this week after Aldrick Rosas was released in the wake of a hit-and-run accident in the offseason.

Gates started games at right guard and right tackle last season, He started 25 consecutive games at left tackle at Nebraska.

TENNIS

Player at Palermo Open tests for virus

PALERMO, Sicily — A tennis player entered for the Palermo Ladies Open tested positive for the coronavirus and has withdrawn from the tournament, organizers announced Saturday.

While noting that the player is asymptomatic, the WTA Tour said in a statement that she will remain in isolation “until cleared by a physician per the established protocols.

Local organizers, who would not name the player, said she was admitted to a national health facility designated for asymptomatic patients with COVID-19.

WRESTLING

Youth tournament takes place in hotspot

MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. — Hundreds of youth wrestlers and their families arrived at a South Carolina beach town identified as a recent COVID-19 hotspot for a three-day tournament this week after city officials signed off on the gathering.

The tournament, hosted by the South Carolina Youth Wrestling Association, was the first large event held at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center in several months.

The tournament implemented temperature checks and a strictly-enforced mask requirement, association president Mica Hendricks told WMBF-TV.

Wrestlers did not have to wear masks while competing on the mat. The wrestling mats were spaced further apart from each other, but chairs surrounding the mats were not, WMBF-TV reported.

The Associated Press