Brandon Morrow allows five runs in three-inning start at Single-A

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The Blue Jays placed right-hander Brandon Morrow on the 15-day disabled list at the start of the regular season due to forearm inflammation. On Thursday, he took a big but shaky step toward returning.

According to John Lott of Toronto’s National Post, Morrow allowed five runs — four earned — over just three innings in a rehab outing at Single-A Dunedin. He struck out only two batters and walked one.

The poor results are somewhat worrisome, but Morrow showed ace-like stuff in the second half of the 2010 season and may have been working out some of his lingering discomfort on the Single-A mound this evening. He’ll get at least one more rehab start to build his arm strength and he should hit the ground running when Toronto finally activates him from the disabled list.

Aaron Gleeman picked Morrow as one of his “breakout picks” of 2011 during spring training.

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.