Shelby Miller leaves game after taking liner off elbow

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Cardinals star rookie Shelby Miller was removed in the first inning of his start Wednesday night against the Dodgers after taking a line drive off his throwing elbow from Dodgers leadoff man Carl Crawford.

It was just the second pitch of the evening.

Miller grabbed his right elbow and hunched over on the front of the mound as trainers rushed to his side. He threw his glove in disgust before walking to the first-base dugout and down into the clubhouse.

Michael Blazek entered to finish out the first inning and Jake Westbrook took over in the second. Westbrook was scheduled to start Thursday’s series finale against Los Angeles; that assignment could now go to 21-year-old right-hander Carlos Martinez.

The Cardinals are loaded with good young pitching talent, but their lack of established frontline starters behind Adam Wainwright could be a major issue going forward if Miller is out for an extended period of time.

Miller entered Wednesday with a 2.89 ERA, 1.13 WHIP and 132/35 K/BB ratio in 121 innings this year.

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UPDATE, 9:19 p.m. ET: According to MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch, Miller has been diagnosed with a right elbow contusion. That’s a promising first update, but Miller is sure to undergo more tests.

UPDATE, 9:45 p.m. ET: X-rays on Miller’s elbow turned up negative, tweets Langosch.

Texas Rangers fire manager Jeff Banister

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The Texas Rangers just announced that they have fired Jeff Banister as the team’s manager. Bench coach Don Wakamatsu has been named interim manager for the remainder of 2018 season.

Banister was in the last year of his contract with the club, but there was an option for 2019. Rangers brass, obviously, has decided to go in a different direction following what will be the club’s worst finish in Banister’s tenure. At the moment the Rangers are 64-88 and are assured of last place in the AL West.

Banister was hired before the 2015 season and led the Rangers to first place finishes in each of his first two seasons, willing the Manager of the Year Award in 2015. The club fell to a disappointing third place and a 78-84 record last season, however and, after an offseason that neither helped the Rangers rebuild OR reload, this season the descent has continued.

Injuries and under achievement has been the order of the day for the past two years and, with the career of Adrian Beltre nearing its end and the Rangers having been passed up by the Astros as the class of the division, a full rebuild is in the club’s future. Even if that was not the case, however, recently there have been some reports about Banister having trouble communicating with his players, suggesting that, perhaps, the Rangers would move on from him even if the results on the field had been better.

Banister ends his reign as the Rangers’ skipper with a record of 325-313.