Jose Fernandez is dominating in the minors as he nears return from Tommy John surgery

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Marlins ace Jose Fernandez had another impressive minor-league rehab start Monday at Single-A, throwing seven innings of one-run ball as he nears a return from Tommy John elbow surgery.

Fernandez struck out 10 batters in a rehab outing last week. This time around he struck out nine, walked one, and allowed four hits while recording 21 outs on just 90 pitches. And afterward the 22-year-old right-hander told Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press that he had “no pain” and “this start did a lot of good things for my mind.”

He’s scheduled to make one final rehab start Saturday at Double-A before coming off the disabled list and rejoining the Marlins’ rotation July 2 against the Giants. It’ll be Fernandez’s first MLB action since May 9, 2014, after which he was shut down with a 2.25 ERA and 257 strikeouts through 224 career innings.

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.