Hiroki Kuroda leaves 2013 debut after getting hit with liner

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Hiroki Kuroda had a less-than-ideal 2013 debut.

The right-hander surrendered a Red Sox run in the top of the first inning then took a Shane Victorino line drive off his right fingertips to lead off the second. Kuroda hit the next batter, Jackie Bradley Jr. and walked Jacoby Ellsbury on four pitches. He then plunked Daniel Nava with the bases loaded.

Kuroda was pulled after facing 11 Boston hitters and allowing two runs on a walk and four hits. It was by far the shortest start of his major league career.

The Victorino line drive probably caused some numbness in his right fingers, but Kuroda’s struggles began in the first. The Yankees desperately need the 38-year-old from Osaka, Japan to eat innings this season and he was unable to do that on Wednesday night against the rival Red Sox. Boston won the game 7-4.

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UPDATE, 8:47 PM ET: MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch reports that Kuroda has been diagnosed with a bruised right middle finger. He will undergo precautionary X-rays at Yankee Stadium.

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UPDATE, 10:51 PM ET: The X-rays were negative, according to Hoch. Kuroda is day-to-day.

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.