Alex Rodriguez on track for mid-August return from surgery

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Alex Rodriguez’s recovery from July 11 knee surgery is going as planned, with general manager Brian Cashman saying yesterday that the Yankees third baseman is on track to return as soon as “the second week of August.”

Rodriguez was initially expected to miss 4-6 weeks, but Cashman indicated that even a mid-August return would involve the Yankees “being conservative” with his recovery.

Rodriguez has progressed to working out on a bike and in a pool, although Cashman admitted that he has “still got a little bit of a limp, which is normal.”

Eduardo Nunez has stepped in at third base for Rodriguez, who hit .295 with 13 homers and an .852 OPS in 80 games prior to the injury. So far the Yankees are 8-6 without him in the lineup and as Cashman explained New York’s offense is strong enough to play it safe with his timetable.

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.