Lorenzo Cain expected to miss rest of season with hamstring injury

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When the Royals traded Melky Cabrera to the Giants for Jonathan Sanchez over the winter, the objective was to give Lorenzo Cain an opportunity to be the regular center fielder. Things haven’t exactly worked out as planned.

While Sanchez was a major bust before being traded to the Rockies for Jeremy Guthrie, Cain just hasn’t been able to stay on the field this season. After missing three months earlier this year with a torn hip flexor, Cain told Dick Kaegel of MLB.com last night that he will miss the rest of the season due to a right hamstring injury.

Cain suffered the injury when he tried to make a diving catch in the 10th inning of Thursday’s loss to the Twins. While it was originally thought to be a minor injury, it turns out that he suffered a Grade 2 strain. The Royals called up Jason Bourgeois from Triple-A Omaha yesterday and he’s expected to be used in a platoon with David Lough in center field down the stretch.

Cain batted .266/.316/.419 with seven home runs, 31 RBI, 10 stolen bases and a .734 OPS in 244 plate appearances this season while playing solid defense, so he has shown enough to open 2013 as the starting center fielder. Top prospect Wil Myers is knocking on the door for a promotion to the big leagues, but the Royals still have right fielder Jeff Francoeur under contract for $6.75 million next season.

Brad Ausmus out as Tigers manager

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The Tigers just announced that they will not be bringing Brad Ausmus back as manager in 2018. His contract was going to be up at the end of this season and they have decided not to renew it. Ausmus and his staff will manage the club for the final week of the season.

In the press release announcing the move, Tigers GM Al Avila said “[a]s we transition the ballclub in a new direction, I feel it’s best that we have a new approach and a fresh start with the manager position.” He went on to praise Ausmus for “doing an admirable job under difficult circumstances, especially this season,” a clear reference to the club’s decision at mid-season to blow things up. Justin Verlander and J.D. Martinez were traded in July and August, as were some more minor players. The club is clearly embarking on a lengthy rebuild of which Ausmus, who was brought in four years ago to lead a contending team, will not be a part.

In his four seasons at the helm the Tigers are 312-325. He won 90 games and the AL Central in his first season in 2014, but the Tigers were swept out of the ALDS in three games. In the past three seasons they finished fifth, second and will either finish in fourth or fifth this year. Injuries and poor bullpens have been the biggest problem, but clearly this Tigers team was supposed to win more over the past four years.

It’s unclear what direction the Tigers will take in their managerial search, but it’s clear they’re going to go outside of the organization, as Avila said in his statement that the status of the current coaching staff will be contingent on the wishes of whatever new manager they hire.

Happy trails, Brad Ausmus. Baseball’s Most Handsome Manager is now Baseball’s Most Handsome Unemployed coach.

The Mets are doing something really weird with Noah Syndergaard and Matt Harvey

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Anthony DiComo of MLB.com reports that the Mets are going to give Noah Syndergaard the start for tomorrow’s game. But here’s the hitch: he’ll only get one inning and then Matt Harvey will enter in the second inning and go from there. Harvey was originally scheduled to take the start. Syndergaard, of course, has been out since April. Harvey has been pitching under the loosest definition of the term.

I can see, if they are intent on putting Syndergaard in a real game, having him start one rather than come in out of the bullpen for purposes of preparation and routine. At the same time, however, if he’s only able to throw one inning at this point, with a little over a week left in the season, what’s the point of him pitching at all? As for Harvey relieving: he’s kind of a mess right now. Is he someone whose routine you really want to throw off?

I guess this doesn’t hurt anything — at least as long as Syndergaard doesn’t hurt himself throwing in a meaningless game at the end of the season — but it certainly is odd. It makes me wonder if this is some sort of “Dave” or “Moon Over Parador” situation in which the Mets are just trying to create the impression that Syndergaard is still alive.

Could Kevin Kline pitch an inning? Richard Dreyfuss?