Tanner Roark to fill in for Doug Fister in Nationals’ rotation

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UPDATE: Nationals manager Matt Williams said that Roark will start Monday, per Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com.

1:20 p.m. ET: Tanner Roark posted a 2.85 ERA across 31 starts last season, but the Nationals moved him to the bullpen after signing Max Scherzer to a huge contract over the winter. That depth is coming in handy now that Doug Fister is sidelined with a strained flexor muscle in his forearm.

According to Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com, Roark will either start Monday or Tuesday against the Cubs depending on whether he’s needed out of the bullpen this weekend. The 28-year-old right-hander hasn’t thrown more than 52 pitches in game this season, so Nationals manager Matt Williams said he’ll likely be limited to around 70 pitches for his first start back.

There’s still no timetable for Fister’s return, so Roark could keep a spot in the rotation for a while.

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.