Carlos Zambrano completes anger management program

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Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune reports that Cubs pitcher Carlos Zambrano has completed his team-prescribed anger management therapy and has reported to the club’s spring training complex in Arizona to begin working toward a return to the big leagues.

It’s about time, really.  Big Z was suspended indefinitely by the Cubs close to three weeks ago and he has at least another two weeks of rehab ahead.

Soon after he was placed on the restricted list, the Cubs announced that Zambrano would be returning as a reliever and not a starter, so that may speed things up.  But he will almost certainly need to pitch in a few minor league games to get his endurance and mechanics in check.

The 29-year-old right-hander had a 5.66 ERA and a 1.69 WHIP in 22 outings (nine starts) before his June 25 dugout tirade.  He is under contract with the Cubs through 2013.

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

Minnesota Twis v Kansas City Royals
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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.