Anthony Rendon resumed a minor league rehab assignment last night

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Anthony Rendon’s first attempt at a minor league rehab assignment was halted about a month ago due to an oblique strain, but Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com reports that he returned to game action last night with Double-A Harrisburg.

Rendon, who has been sidelined since early on in spring training with a sprained MCL in his left knee, went 1-for-4 with a single and three strikeouts and played seven innings at second base. The Nationals figure to play it safe with him after his previous setback, but there’s optimism that he could finally be ready to make his season debut at some point next week.

Rendon was the Nationals’ most valuable player last season, batting .287/.351/.473 with 21 home runs, 83 RBI, and 17 steals while splitting his time between second base and third base. He’s expected to play both positions during his rehab assignment, but it looks like he’ll play second base upon his return while Yunel Escobar will remain at third.

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.