CHICAGO — For the all of the uncertainty surrounding the future of the Chicago Cubs, Anthony Rizzo is sure of one thing. He wants to stay put.

Rizzo said Monday he is hopeful about signing a long-term deal with the club before his contract expires at the end of the season.

“This city and everything I love about the city, I kind of wear on my sleeve,” he said. “And I still love it. I still love our team. I still love what we have going on here.”

President of baseball operations Jed Hoyer said last week he would discuss long-term contracts with Rizzo, Kris Bryant and Javier Báez during spring training. All three players have expiring deals and are coming off difficult seasons. They also played huge roles in Chicago’s transformation from long-suffering, lovable losers to drought-busting champions.

Speaking from the Cubs’ spring facility in Mesa, Ariz., Rizzo said preseason camp is the “perfect time” to discuss a new contract, but he didn’t rule out continuing talks once the season begins if an agreement isn’t reached.

Mariners CEO Mather resigns amid backlash

Seattle Mariners CEO Kevin Mather resigned Monday after video surfaced over the weekend of him expressing his views of the club’s organizational strategy and opinions about some players. Mariners Chairman John Stanton said Mather’s comments were inappropriate and do not represent the views of the franchise. Mather’s resignation is effective immediately. Stanton will take on the roles of CEO and team president on an interim basis.

Braves claim Ervin off waivers from Cubs

The Atlanta Braves have claimed outfielder Phillip Ervin off waivers from the Chicago Cubs. Ervin was added to the 40-man roster on Monday and will compete for a backup position. He was designated for assignment by the Cubs on Saturday.

Braves position players will have their first workout in North Port, Fla., today.

Ex-Cub Jeffress agrees to deal with Nationals

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Right-handed reliever Jeremy Jeffress agreed to terms with the Washington Nationals on a minor league deal that is pending the successful completion of a physical exam.

The 33-year-old Jeffress was taken by Milwaukee in the first round pick of the 2006 amateur draft and has pitched for five teams over 11 years in the majors. He was an NL All-Star in 2018 for the Brewers. Last season, Jeffress went 4-1 with a 1.54 ERA and eight saves in 10 chances for the Chicago Cubs.


Iowa’s Clark nets record 11th weekly honor

IOWA CITY — University of Iowa freshman Caitlin Clark was named Big Ten Women’s Basketball Freshman of the Week and Player of the Week Honor Roll, the conference announced Monday. Clark has tallied 18 Big Ten weekly honors on the season, including a Big Ten record 11 freshman honors, four Big Ten Player of the Week honors, and three Player of the Week Honor Roll nods.

White, Bulls pull away from Houston

HOUSTON — Coby White scored 24 points, and the Chicago Bulls used a big third quarter to pull away for a 120-100 win over the short-handed Houston Rockets on Monday night.

Zach LaVine scored 14 of Chicago’s 46 third-quarter points, finishing with 21, as the Bulls outscored the Rockets by 20 points in the quarter to break open a tight game. Chicago had runs of 15-4 and 12-0 in the period.

Timberwolves fire Saunders, set to hire Finch

The Minnesota Timberwolves fired coach Ryan Saunders on Sunday night, hours after the team with the NBA’s worst record this season lost for the eighth time in the last nine games.

A person with knowledge of the situation said that the Timberwolves were finalizing plans to introduce Toronto assistant Chris Finch as the new coach today. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because Finch’s hiring has not been formally completed.


Mahomes, fiancee welcome baby girl

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes and his fiancee, Brittany Matthews, are parents to a girl. Matthews announced the Sunday birth of Sterling Skye Mahomes in a tweet. The birth came two weeks after Mahomes and Kansas City lost 31-9 to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the Super Bowl.


Blackhawks activate Murphy, lose Carlsson

The Chicago Blackhawks welcomed back top defenseman Connor Murphy from a right hip injury Monday, but will lose Lucas Carlsson for 10 to 14 days with a strained groin.

Forward Dylan Strome was also a scratch from Monday’s practice in Columbus and has been placed in concussion protocol.

Murphy, who has two goals and three assists in 13 games, was placed on injured reserve retroactive to Feb. 9.

TH wire services

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