Five weeks after being placed on the disabled list with a strained elbow Diamondbacks closer J.J. Putz has been cleared to begin a minor-league rehab assignment Thursday at Triple-A.
According to Steve Gilbert of MLB.com the plan is for Putz to pitch Thursday and Saturday, take Sunday off, and then try to work back-to-back games on Monday and Tuesday. If that all goes well, he’d likely come off the disabled list in the middle of next week.
Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson avoided saying that Putz would be handed the closer job once healthy, leaving the door open due to Heath Bell converting 11 of 12 save chances in his absence.
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.