Duncan hoping to remain with Cards for three more years

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The Cardinals still don’t know whether Tony La Russa will manage in 2011. But his longtime sidekick, pitching coach Dave Duncan, is locked in for at least one more year.

Duncan told Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on Thursday that he would like to coach for three more seasons in St. Louis before retiring.

“The ideal situation would not be to coach in St. Louis for one more year then find another place for two more years,” Duncan said. “The ideal situation would be to coach three years in the same place.”

Duncan has voiced frustration in the past about the organization’s handling of the minor league ranks and a lack of a club-wide pitching philosophy, but those issues have mostly been cleared up and the 65-year-old former catcher is now consulted by farm director Josh Vuchs on nearly every pitching-relate move.

Duncan has served as a pitching coach in the major leagues for close to 30 seasons now and is surely ready for an extended vacation, but his rotation in 2011 will feature two Cy Young Award candidates in Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright, and also young left-hander Jaime Garcia. If the Cardinals manage to work out a deal with free agent righty Jake Westbrook, even better.

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.