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BRIEFLY Twins’ Hunter retires at age 40

BRIEFLY

Twins’ Hunter retires at age 40

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Torii Hunter’s Minnesota reunion went about as well as could’ve been expected — for both sides.

That’s the way Hunter decided to cap his career, too, as the last of 19 major league seasons.

The Twins confirmed Monday night that Hunter will retire. He told the Star Tribune he began the year believing this would be his last in baseball and wanted to focus on his family, with two of his sons playing college football.

“I didn’t want a going-away tour. I didn’t want to be a distraction,” Hunter told the newspaper.

Hunter was often in the spotlight this season, though. He finished with a .240 batting average, 22 home runs and 81 RBIs in 139 games. Hunter played a capable right field despite lacking the range of his youth and a significant role in a resurgence by the Twins that kept them in the American League wild card race until the second-to-last day of the season.

In 2,372 games, Hunter hit .277 with 353 homers and 1,391 RBIs for Minnesota, the Los Angeles Angels and the Detroit Tigers, playing in one AL championship series with each team. After being drafted in the first round by the Twins as an 18-yearold out of Pine Bluff, Ark., Hunter finished with his original team at age 40.

Timberwolves return to work after losing Flip Saunders to cancer

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Flip Saunders had been hospitalized for more than a month, with complications from Hodgkin’s lymphoma leaving him unable to communicate with the Minnesota Timberwolves team he rebuilt from the ground up.

Each day that went by without a positive report on their leader raised the concern and the dread. And still, each day, many in the organization expected Saunders to burst through the doors on the shiny new $25 million practice facility he helped design, blow the whistle around his neck and start coaching the roster he assembled with the staff he hired.

“I’m going to keep thinking about that moment,” point guard Ricky Rubio said Monday, one day after Saunders died at the age of 60 due to complications from the cancer. “I think some of us can’t believe that he passed away. Still waiting for him any moment to come and lead us where he wanted us to be.”

A grieving Timberwolves team reconvened at practice, the loss of the organizational architect still weighing heavy on their hearts. Quite simply, Saunders was everything to these Timberwolves — the president of basketball operations, a minority owner and head coach, another son to owner Glen Taylor and another father to many of the players.

No. 2 Baylor loses QB for the season

Second-ranked Baylor’s pursuit of a playoff spot will go on without star quarterback Seth Russell, who needs season-ending neck surgery.

Russell saw a specialist Monday, two days after he fractured a bone during a win over Iowa State. The school said surgery was recommended to repair damage to his cervical vertebra, and that the typical recovery time is six months.

“Seth exemplifies the spirit and will of our football team, and through this our team will keep that spirit alive and well for him,” coach Art Briles said in a statement released by the school.

The junior quarterback got hurt on a run late Saturday against Iowa State, when the two-time defending Big 12 champion Bears improved to 7-0 with a 45-27 win.

American Pharoah is 6-5 favorite for Breeders’ Cup Classic

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — Triple Crown champion American Pharoah was made the early 6-5 favorite Monday in a field of 10 for the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic, the last race of his career.

The colt will break from the No. 4 post on Saturday at Keeneland. He is 6 for 7 this year, and is coming off a loss in the Travers two months ago.

Beholder drew the far outside post and is the 3-1 second choice for the 1 1/4-mile race against male horses. Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari pulled the numbered pills that decided the positions at the draw.

Beholder and American Pharoah are both based at Santa Anita, where her trainer Richard Mandella was tempted to get a jump on the highly anticipated showdown.

“I wanted to say to Bob, ‘Let’s just spin them once around and see what happens,’” he said.

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