Much of the news about the upcoming World Baseball Classic has been about those who have backed out of participating, but here’s one player who has opted in.
Nationals left-hander Gio Gonzalez has accepted an invitation to pitch for Team USA, according to announcement on the team’s Twitter account. He’ll be a welcome addition to a rotation which is also set to include R.A. Dickey, Ryan Vogelsong and Derek Holland.
Kris Medlen was on the provisional roster announced by the team last month, but he has since withdrawn due to the impending birth of his first child. Andy Pettitte has also decided against participating in recent weeks. Justin Verlander is said to be still mulling over whether he’ll pitch in the tournament.
Of course, Gonzalez is one of several players who has been linked to Biogenesis, a Miami-area clinic which allegedly distributed performance-enhancing drugs to players. MLB is currently investigating the matter.
Per Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, the Padres have announced that interim manager Pat Murphy won’t return as the team’s manager in 2016. Haudricourt adds that Brewres manager Craig Counsell tried to get Murphy on his staff, and says to look for Murphy to join the Brewers for the 2016 season.
Murphy led the Padres to a 42-53 record after Bud Black was fired in June. He had previously managed for two years with Single-A Eugene in 2011-12, and at Triple-A Tucson and El Paso in 2013-14.
Former major leaguer Phil Nevin is a candidate for the Padres’ vacant managing position, according to Scott Miller of Bleacher Report.
With a 6-1 win over the Twins in Sunday’s season finale, the Royals clinched the best record in the American League, which nets them home field advantage in the ALDS and ALCS. The Royals stand at 95-67 while the Blue Jays, who lost on Sunday, finish at 93-69.
95-67 is the Royals’ best record since finishing 97-65 in 1980, when they lost the World Series to the Phillies. Their division title is their first since 1985.
In the ALDS, which starts on Thursday, the Royals will host the winner of the AL Wild Card game between the Astros and Yankees. They are looking to avenge last year’s World Series loss, in seven games, to the Giants. The Blue Jays will host the Rangers in the other ALDS series.