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Yoan Moncada poised to make his first career start

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On the heels of his major league debut, Red Sox top prospect Yoan Moncada will make his first start with the team on Saturday against the Athletics. The 21-year-old infielder went 0-for-2 during Friday’s 16-2 blowout win in Oakland, drawing a walk against J.B. Wendelken and scoring a run on a Travis Shaw RBI double in the eighth inning.

With Moncada’s switch-hitting capabilities, the Red Sox will have another left-handed bat to balance out the lineup. Like fellow switch-hitter Sandy Leon, Moncada profiles better from the left side of the plate and will get the bulk of his starts against right-handed pitchers. Manager John Farrell also intends to pencil in third baseman Aaron Hill as a defensive option in later innings, supposedly with infielder Travis Shaw as a backup option.

It’s an accelerated timetable for Moncada, who spent just 45 games in Double-A Portland before getting the call, but the Red Sox are in no position to wait. They’ve been red-hot in the last week, taking three of their last five games with a cumulative 33 runs scored and currently sit two games up in the wild card race.

For some teams, September baseball brings the fevered excitement of a playoff run, while those who find themselves out of the running can take solace in the long-awaited debuts of top prospects. Right now, it looks like the Red Sox have the best of both worlds.

Padres fire Andy Green

Andy Green
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The Padres fired manager Andy Green on Saturday, per an official team release. Bench coach Rod Barajas will step into the position for the remaining eight games of the 2019 season.

Executive Vice President and GM A.J. Preller gave a statement in the wake of Green’s dismissal:

I want to thank Andy for his tireless work and dedication to the Padres over the last four seasons. This was an incredibly difficult decision, but one we felt was necessary at this time to take our organization to the next level and expedite the process of bringing a championship to San Diego. Our search for a new manager will begin immediately.

In additional comments made to reporters, Preller added that the decision had not been made based on the Padres’ current win-loss record (a fourth-place 69-85 in the NL West), but rather on the lack of response coming from the team.

“Looking at the performance, looking at it from an improvement standing, we haven’t seen the team respond in the last few months,” Preller said. “When you get to the point where you’re questioning where things are headed … we have to make that call.”

Since his hiring in October 2015, Green has faced considerable challenges on the Padres’ long and winding path to postseason contention. He shepherded San Diego through four consecutive losing seasons, drawing a career 274-366 record as the club extended their streak to 13 seasons without a playoff appearance. And, despite some definite strides in the right direction — including an eight-year, $144 million pact with Eric Hosmer, a 10-year, $300 million pact with superstar Manny Machado, and the development of top prospect Fernando Tatís Jr. — lingering injuries and inexplicable slumps from key players stalled the rebuild longer than the Padres would have liked.

For now, they’ll prepare to roll the dice with a new skipper in 2020, though any potential candidates have yet to be identified for the role. It won’t come cheap, either, as Green inked a four-year extension back in 2017 — one that should have seen him through the team’s 2021 campaign.