Keynan Middleton to undergo Tommy John surgery

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On Monday, we learned that Angels closer Keynan Middleton was seeking a second opinion after being diagnosed with damage to his ulnar collateral ligament. That second opinion confirmed that Middleton will need season-ending Tommy John surgery. The Angels announced the news on Thursday, adding that the right-hander will meet with team doctors to discuss the timeline and a formal plan of care.

Middleton, 24, showed flashes of greatness in his brief time as the Angels’ closer. He racked up six saves with a 2.04 ERA and a 16/9 K/BB ratio in 17 2/3 innings. His 2018 is finished and he likely won’t appear until late in the 2019 season at the earliest as well.

Jim Johnson, Cam Bedrosian, Blake Parker, and Justin Anderson are all in the mix to handle save situations. The Angels haven’t had many opportunities while Middleton has been out so far as the club lost two games and won one in walk-off fashion. Anderson got the save on Monday.

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.