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Here is the latest Illinois sports news from The Associated Press – WREX-TV

LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) — After resisting the move in the past Chicago Bears coach Matt Nagy has made Justin Fields his first-string quarterback going forward and has moved Andy Dalton into the backup role. Fields, the former Ohio State quarterback and first-round draft pick, had played against Detroit and Cleveland as the starter but only because of veteran Dalton’s knee injury. As recently as Monday, Nagy said Fields was still the backup but he has had a change of heart. Dalton is recovered from a bone bruise and has resumed practicing this week.

HOUSTON (AP) — Hall of Fame manager Tony La Russa is back in the playoffs with the Chicago White Sox as they prepare to open their best-of-five AL Division Series on Thursday against the Houston Astros. It’s his first postseason since winning the 2011 World Series with the St. Louis Cardinals before retiring. He’ll face Houston manager Dusty Baker, who at 72 is still chasing his first title. 

CHICAGO (AP) — Courtney Vandersloot scored 19 points and Kahleah Copper added 18 to help the Chicago Sky beat the top-seeded Connecticut Sun 79-69 and advance to the WNBA Finals. Chicago is back in the finals for the first time since 2014 despite finishing the regular season with a .500 record. Candace Parker, who returned home to Chicago this season, finished with 17 points, nine rebounds and seven assists. Jonquel Jones led the way for the Sun with 25 points and 11 rebounds. 

CHICAGO (AP) — The Chicago White Sox have a rare opportunity to capture the spotlight and expand their fan base in a city in which they’re often overshadowed by their neighbors a few miles north. They’re in the playoffs for the second year in a row, a first for the charter American League franchise. They have their sights set on the World Series and a chance to cash in with young and vibrant stars. Chicago-based sports marketing executive Marc Ganis says the White Sox have a chance to increase local sponsorship, ticket sales, suite sales and other stadium revenue by 25% to 40% without having to cut into the Cubs’ fan base because of the size of the population. That hinges on their marketing and how far the team advances.

HOUSTON (AP) — Lance Lynn will start for the Chicago White Sox in Game 1 of the AL Division Series against the Houston Astros on Thursday. Manager Tony La Russa announced the decision Wednesday and said Lucas Giolito would start Game 2. The White Sox also said first baseman Jose Abreu was feeling better after dealing with flu-like symptoms and that he would fly to Houston Wednesday night. 

CHICAGO (AP) — Chicago Cubs president of baseball operations Jed Hoyer says bolstering a starting rotation that ranked among the worst this season tops his to-do list. the Cubs will have the financial flexibility to be active in free agency. The question is whether they try to make a big splash by signing a star or fill more gaps through lower-profile moves. Either way, he identified the rotation as the top priority after Cubs starters combined for a 5.27 ERA. Only Texas, Pittsburgh and Baltimore were higher. The Cubs also need to find a new hitting coach after Hoyer confirmed the team is parting with Anthony Iapoce. A contract extension for manager David Ross could be in the works. The sides having held preliminary talks.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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