Astros move Erik Bedard to the bullpen

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Veteran left-hander Erik Bedard will not be taking another turn in the Astros’ starting rotation.

According to beat writer Brian McTaggart of MLB.com, the Astros have demoted Bedard to the bullpen and will name a new starting pitcher later this week. Bedard had allowed 24 hits, 12 walks and 17 earned runs in 18 2/3 innings of work this season for an 8.20 ERA and 1.93 WHIP. He didn’t make it beyond the fourth inning in any of his five starts.

The 34-year-old southpaw signed a minor league contract with Houston in late January. If he can’t get himself right in the bullpen, the next step will probably have to be an outright release.

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.