Ian Stewart to begin season on DL with quadriceps injury

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Ian Stewart has been out since mid-February with a quadriceps injury and now the Cubs third baseman has been ruled out for Opening Day.

This offseason the Cubs non-tendered the arbitration eligible Stewart and then re-signed him to a one-year, $2 million deal. Similar to what the Tigers did with Brennan Boesch last week, they could release Stewart and save all but $500,000 of that money, but Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune expects the Cubs to stick with him.

Stewart hit just .201 with five homers and a .627 OPS in 55 games for the Cubs last year, missing most of the season with a wrist injury that required surgery, and was even worse for the Rockies in 2011. Luis Valbuena is slated to be the Cubs’ starting third baseman.

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.