Matt Cain throws 55 pitches in first minor league rehab start

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Giants right-hander Matt Cain made his first minor-league rehab start Tuesday, throwing 3.2 innings at Double-A as he comes back from a strained flexor tendon and surgery to remove bone ships from his elbow that have sidelined him since July of last year.

Cain allowed two runs on three hits in 3.2 innings, striking out two, walking two, and throwing 55 pitches. He’s aiming to come off the disabled list in early July, presumably bumping Ryan Vogelsong from a deep Giants rotation that just saw rookie Chris Heston throw a no-hitter Tuesday night.

Cain posted 2.93 ERA in 131 starts from 2009-2012, throwing 200-plus innings every season, but he had a 4.00 ERA in 184 innings two years ago and last year was shut down after just 15 starts with a 4.18 ERA. He’s making $21 million this season and under contract for the same salary in 2016 and 2017.

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.