Orioles hoping to have Tsuyoshi Wada back on June 1

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Tsuyoshi Wada has yet to throw a pitch for the Orioles since signing a two-year, $8 million deal in December of 2011, suffering an elbow injury last spring that eventually required Tommy John surgery.

He’s on the comeback trail and Rich Dubroff of CSNBaltimore.com reports that the Orioles are targeting June 1 for the left-hander’s return from the disabled list. Dubroff notes that Wada threw four innings and 68 pitches in an extended spring training game and he’s a few weeks short of one year removed from surgery, so his timetable makes sense.

Obviously at this point no one knows what to expect from Wada once he’s healthy, but when the Orioles signed him out of Japan–where he had a 1.51 ERA in 185 innings in 2011–they viewed him as a potential mid-rotation starter.

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.