UPDATE: Hanley Ramirez benched for poor effort

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hanley headshot.JPGUPDATE: According to a tweet by Frisaro, it turns out Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez did bench Ramirez because of his poor effort on the field:

“He got smoked w’ the ball in the ankle. But
whether he’s hurt or not hurt, we felt like the effort wasn’t there.”

9:35 PM: Joe Frisaro of MLB.com reports that Ramirez exited Monday’s game with a sore left ankle.

9:01 PM: Hanley Ramirez was pulled from Monday’s game against the Diamondbacks after just two innings, reports Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post. We’re still not sure about the reason why.

There are two possible explanations. One, Ramirez fouled a ball off his left foot in the first inning. Two, I’m not going to say he didn’t hustle, but let’s just say that he took his sweet time after accidentally kicking a ball hit by Tony Abreu into the left field corner in the top of the second inning. Two runs scored on the play and Abreu ended up at third base. If his foot was bothering him, that could help to explain why he wasn’t exactly sprinting.

In any case, Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez could be seen talking to Ramirez before the shortstop gathered his things and left the dugout. Brian Barden came out to play shortstop to start the third inning.

Royals fire manager Mike Matheny after 65-97 end to season

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Manager Mike Matheny and pitching coach Cal Eldred were fired by the Kansas Cty Royals on Wednesday night, shortly after the struggling franchise finished the season 65-97 with a listless 9-2 loss to the Cleveland Guardians.

The Royals had exercised their option on Matheny’s contract for 2023 during spring training, when the club hoped it was turning the corner from also-ran to contender again. But plagued by poor pitching, struggles from young position players and failed experiments with veterans, the Royals were largely out of playoff contention by the middle of summer.

The disappointing product led owner John Sherman last month to fire longtime front office executive Dayton Moore, the architect of back-to-back American League champions and the 2015 World Series title team. Moore was replaced by one of his longtime understudies, J.J. Picollo, who made the decision to fire Matheny hours after the season ended.

Matheny became the fifth big league manager to be fired this year.

Philadelphia’s Joe Girardi was replaced on June 3 by Rob Thomson, who engineered a miraculous turnaround to get the Phillies into the playoffs as a wild-card team. The Angels replaced Joe Maddon with Phil Nevin four days later, Toronto’s Charlie Montoyo was succeeded by John Schneider on July 13 and the Rangers’ Chris Woodward by Tony Beasley on Aug. 15.

In addition, Miami’s Don Mattingly said late last month that he will not return next season.