Tests rule out facial fractures for Max Stassi

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While Braves outfielder Jason Heyward had earlier surgery today to repair a fractured jaw, the news is more encouraging for Astros rookie catcher Max Stassi, who had a pitch deflect off his shoulder and hit him in the mouth last night against the Rangers.

Jose de Jesus Ortiz of the Houston Chronicle reports that Stassi stayed at the Medical Center of Arlington last night, during which CAT scan and X-rays showed no facial fractures. The 22-year-old was scheduled to travel to Houston today to undergo concussion tests, but the early signs are promising.

“We were relieved because looking at it live it seemed like it might be worse,” general manager Jeff Luhnow said. “He was fortunate that there’s no fracture. Obviously any time there’s a blow to the head you have to be careful.”

Stassi was called up by the Astros this week after batting .277/.333/.529 with 17 home runs and 60 RBI over 76 games this season with Double-A Corpus Christi. He is 2-for-6 through his first two games in the majors while the bases-loaded hit-by-pitch last night gave him his first career RBI. That’s probably not the way he dreamed it up.

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.