Phillies release infielder Yuniesky Betancourt

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CSNPhilly.com’s Jim Salisbury reports that the Phillies have cut ties with Yuniesky Betancourt.

Betancourt was signed to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training on January 28 by the Philadelphia front office. He had a .447/.451/.574 slash line in 51 Grapefruit League plate appearances as of Sunday morning, but the Phillies have decided not to bring him north and the veteran wouldn’t have accepted an assignment to Triple-A Lehigh Valley.

Betancourt has reportedly drawn some interest from the Cardinals, who are planning to start Pete Kozma at shortstop. Whether it’s St. Louis or somewhere else, Yuni shouldn’t be out of work long.

The 31-year-old hit .228/.256/.400 with seven home runs in 57 games last season with the Royals.

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.