Turner, Valdespin could replace Wright, Murphy in Mets’ Opening Day lineup

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Opening Day for the Mets could be very uninspiring. With Johan Santana unlikely to be ready, it is looking like David Wright and Daniel Murphy could join him on the bench, according to ESPN’s Adam Rubin:

If David Wright and Murphy both open the season on the DL, Collins added, he likely would use Justin Turner at third base and Valdespin at second base to open the season. After Valdespin dabbled in the outfield in Grapefruit League games, Collins has restored him to second base because of Murphy’s situation.

Valdespin, who homered to lead off the bottom of the first and reached base in all three of his plate appearances Sunday, also likely would lead off. He also had a leadoff homer against Justin Verlander last Monday.

Valdespin hit .241 with a .286 on-base percentage in 206 plate appearances with the Mets last year as a 24-year-old rookie. Turner, who last got regular playing time as a starter in 2011, has a career .678 OPS. Needless to say, downgrading from Wright and Murphy to Turner and Valdespin will be a blow to the lineup.

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.