David Wright swings bat for first time since intercostal strain

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After running, fielding grounders and playing catch yesterday, David Wright took some swings off a tee in the cage this morning for the first time since a strained left intercostal muscle caused him to withdraw from the World Baseball Classic last week.

Wright said that he felt no pain during his workout and still hopes to be ready for Opening Day. Mets general manager Sandy Alderson indicated to Marc Carig of New York Newsday that he is cautiously optimistic about his progress.

“I’m glad it’s a goal,” Alderson aid. “Is it realistic? Yeah, I think it’s realistic. I don’t think there’s any certainty, but it’s realistic.”

If Wright needs more time, the Mets could go with either Justin Turner or Zach Lutz at third base. Further complicating matters is that Daniel Murphy is also working his way back from an intercostal strain. If both Wright and Murphy are sidelined at the start of the season, it’s possible that Jordany Valdespin could play second base.

Royals fire manager Mike Matheny after 65-97 end to season

Minnesota Twis v Kansas City Royals
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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.