Andy Pettitte hopes to return ahead of schedule

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Andy Pettitte, who went on the disabled list Monday with a groin strain, played catch for about five minutes from 60 feet on Saturday, according to the Associated Press.

Diagnosed with Grade 1 strain, the veteran left-hander isn’t expected to return until mid-to-late August, however he told reporters Saturday that he doesn’t think that timetable is realistic. In a good way.

“It doesn’t seem realistic to me at all, but I haven’t gotten on the
mound,” Pettitte said. “When I get on the mound, I’ll be able to say,
and hopefully I won’t have any setbacks.” 

“I mean, I feel good,” Pettitte said. “I’m not having any problems at all.”

It’s not immediately clear when Pettitte will begin throwing off a mound, but he is scheduled to fly to Tampa on Monday to continue his rehab. The 37-year-old left-hander is eligible to return from the DL on August 2, but Yankees manager Joe Girardi said the team plans to take a cautious approach with Pettitte, as they don’t want this to be a recurring problem down the stretch.

Sergio Mitre, Pettitte’s temporary replacement in the rotation, gave up seven runs — five earned — over 4 1/3 innings in a loss to the Royals this afternoon.

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.