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Pete Mackanin’s contract extension is still up in the air

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Phillies’ GM Matt Klentak hasn’t committed to exercising manager Pete Mackanin’s 2018 option yet, writes Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com. Last spring, the 65-year-old skipper was signed to a two-year contract that covered the 2016 and 2017 seasons and included an option for 2018.

There’s little cause for concern just yet, says Salisbury, in part because of Mackanin’s success with the club during their 2016 run. The Phillies didn’t show any spectacular improvement when Mackanin arrived on the scene in 2015, taking fifth place in the National League East with a 63-99 record, but gained an extra eight wins in 2016 and bumped up their position to fourth in the division.

Similar improvements could be on the horizon for the club in 2017. While a championship title is still out of reach, Mackanin told Michael McGarry of The Press of Atlantic City that he has his sights set on more modest achievements. “We might not go from A to Z and get to the World Series,” Mackanin said, “but I think we can go from A to F or A to G. We have to start making our move.”

The team has focused on acquiring depth over the offseason, anchoring their pitching staff with right-handers Clay Buchholz, Pat Neshek and Joaquin Benoit, adding backup catchers Bryan Holaday and Ryan Hanigan and picking up a couple of corner outfielders in Michael Saunders and Howie Kendrick. They’re not the flashiest of moves, but moving the needle even a little bit further in the Phillies’ favor could help secure Mackanin’s future with the club beyond his 2017 campaign.

Until then, it’s unlikely that Klentak will have much to comment on. Per Salisbury:

At the winter meetings, general manager Matt Klentak deftly sidestepped questions on the matter by citing NBCSports.com writer Craig Calcaterra’s annual (and hilarious) ranking of baseball’s most handsome managers. Mackanin ranked a very respectable eighth on the list, which each year draws more and more cackles from the baseball establishment.

“If Pete had ranked in the top five …” Klentak said with a shrug and a laugh.

Masahiro Tanaka released from hospital after taking line drive to head

Masahiro Tanaka line drive
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Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka was hit in the head by a Giancarlo Stanton line drive during a simulated game on Saturday afternoon. He remained on the ground for a while before exiting the field with the help of trainers. He went to NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital and was released in the evening.

Per James Wagner of The New York Times, Tanaka entered the hospital with concussion-like symptoms but they went away. Tanaka underwent a series of tests, including a CT scan, and checked out fine. The right-hander will still likely undergo MLB’s concussion protocol.

Tanaka, 31, will pitch out of the middle of the Yankees’ rotation behind Gerrit Cole and James Paxton during this shortened 60-game season. Tanaka had an up-and-down 2019 campaign, finishing with a 4.45 ERA, 149 strikeouts, and 40 walks over 182 innings of work. He is entering the final year of his seven-year, $155 million contract, so he may enter free agency after the season.