Yankees fire hitting coach Kevin Long

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Just minutes after announcing a three-year contract extension with general manager Brian Cashman the Yankees have fired hitting coach Kevin Long, according to Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News.

Long has been New York’s hitting coach since 2007, during which time the Yankees lineup scored the second-most runs in all of baseball. However, they ranked 13th in runs among AL teams this season after ranking 10th last year.

It’s hard to blame Long for guys like Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira, Carlos Beltran, and Ichiro Suzuki getting old/hurt, but big-money free agent pickups Brian McCann and Jacoby Ellsbury also underwhelmed this season.

Mostly this just seems like the Yankees wanted to find a scapegoat while not wanting to part ways with Cashman or manager Joe Girardi, in which case it’s easiest to cut the hitting coach who presided over a terrible offense regardless of how much blame he deserved.

Clayton Kershaw to make Opening Day start for Dodgers

Clayton Kershaw Opening Day
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Dodgers manager Dave Roberts confirmed it in March and he confirmed it again on Tuesday: Clayton Kershaw will start on Opening Day, Jorge Castillo of The Los Angeles Times reports.

The Dodgers are one of four teams that will open the 60-game regular season schedule on July 23; everyone else begins play on the 24th. With a 10 PM ET start, the Dodgers will host the Giants at Dodger Stadium.

Johnny Cueto will likely pitch opposite Kershaw for the Giants. Cueto was named the Giants’ Opening Day starter on March 11, before the league shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic. Manager Gabe Kapler hasn’t yet officially named an Opening Day starter for the makeshift season.

Kershaw, 32, made the Opening Day start eight consecutive times for the Dodgers from 2011-18. Hyun-Jin Ryu, now a Blue Jay, pitched on Opening Day last season for the Dodgers. Last year, Kershaw logged 178 1/3 innings over 28 starts and one relief appearance, his highest innings total since 2015. He went 16-5 with a 3.03 ERA, 189 strikeouts, and 41 walks.