Joe Blanton scratched Thursday with lingering elbow issues

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The Phillies made a last-second change before their Thursday evening game against the visiting Rockies, scratching right-hander Joe Blanton from his scheduled start and replacing him with long reliever Kyle Kendrick. The news comes via Dave Murphy of the Philadelphia Daily News.

Blanton spent a little over two weeks on the disabled list in late April and early May because of an impingement of his right elbow. Either that injury is not fully healed or the Phillies are simply playing it safe with the 30-year-old because of the rainy conditions that are expected to hover around the Philadelphia area for most of the evening. A slick turf can often lead to injury setbacks.

Kendrick, 26, has posted a strong 1.64 ERA in 22 total innings this year despite an ugly 6/12 K/BB ratio. He’s made two starts and looked fairly sharp in both of them, but the Rockies will provide a big test.

UPDATE: According to Jim Armstrong of the Denver Post, the Phillies have confirmed that Blanton is again dealing with elbow issues. It’s not yet known if he is going to need another stint on the disabled list.

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.