Red Sox optimistic Daisuke Matsuzaka will be OK for next start

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Daisuke Matsuzaka left last night’s start against the Mariners in the fifth inning with right elbow tightness, but Steve Krasner of ESPNBoston.com reports that the Red Sox are optimistic he’ll be able to make his next scheduled turn in the rotation Wednesday against the Angels.

“I think we think he’ll be OK for his next start,” said Francona. “We’ll check him out.”

Dice-K gave up three runs — one earned — on four hits and four walks before leaving the game. According to Brooks Baseball, he was sitting around 92 mph on the radar gun in the first inning, but his velocity took a sharp nose dive as the game moved along.

For what’s it’s worth, Matsuzaka doesn’t sound too concerned.

“I could have continued to throw,” said Matsuzaka. “I didn’t feel I needed to come off the mound. I left the judgment to Tito. That was his decision to come off the mound. I understand Tito is always concerned about all his players. I feel sorry to make him concerned about my elbow.”

Matsuzaka is scheduled to be examined by the Red Sox medical staff at some point today. Tim Wakefield or Alfredo Aceves are the most likely replacements should they decide to play it safe.

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.