Ronald Acuña exits game with left groin tightness

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Braves outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr. exited Friday’s game against the Brewers after sustaining a groin injury in the seventh inning. With the bases loaded and no outs, Acuña chopped the ball back toward third base, where it was ruled an infield single after Travis Shaw failed to scoop it. Something didn’t look right after Acuña ran out the hit, however, and he was quickly replaced with Charlie Culberson at first base/left field.

The official diagnosis is left groin tightness, according to an official announcement, though the Braves have yet to specify the severity of the injury or how long they expect Acuña to be sidelined. The 20-year-old rookie already missed a month of play this summer after landing on the 10-day disabled list with an ACL sprain in his left knee in late May, and had only appeared in eight games since his return. Heading into Friday’s game, he slashed .262/.361/.469 with seven home runs and a .790 OPS through 159 plate appearances.

Dansby Swanson followed Acuña’s infield hit with a two-run single of his own, but it still wasn’t enough to catch the Brewers. After two fruitless innings against Milwaukee’s Jeremy Jeffress and Corey Knebel, the Braves fell 5-4 in their second straight loss of the series — and fourth consecutive loss of the week.

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.