Royals shut down Yordano Ventura with ulnar nerve condition

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Royals right-hander Yordano Ventura, who exited Friday’s start after three innings with weakness in his right hand, has now been placed on the disabled list with what the team is calling an ulnar nerve condition.

Journeyman right-hander Yohan Pino will step into the rotation for Ventura, who had a 4.68 ERA and 54/21 K/BB ratio in 67 innings for an underwhelming follow-up to last season’s breakout.

Pino, who made his MLB debut for the Twins last season at age 30, has pitched well in limited action out of the Royals’ bullpen after a decade of starting in the minors.

No word yet on how long the Royals expect to be without Ventura, but “ulnar nerve condition” certainly doesn’t sound good.

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.