Astros call up Kyle Tucker

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The Astros promoted top prospect Kyle Tucker in advance of Saturday’s game against the White Sox. Per an official statement from club manager A.J. Hinch, Tucker is slated to make his MLB debut and will play left field and bat seventh.

The 21-year-old outfield prospect was ranked no. 1 in the Astros’ system prior to the 2018 season and no. 8 among the league’s current prospect class. After decimating the competition in Single- and Double-A over the last three years, he was bumped up to Triple-A Fresno this year and raked .306/.371/.520 with 14 home runs, 14 stolen bases, and an .891 OPS through 371 plate appearances.

While his speed and power make him a double threat at the plate, his versatility and arm make him an appealing choice in the outfield as well. He split the bulk of his starts in the minors between right and center field, but is primarily thought to be a corner outfielder at the major league level. He’ll likely share time with Josh Reddick, Tony Kemp, and Marwin Gonzalez in the near future.

The Astros are scheduled to face off against the White Sox at 4:10 PM EST today, with Charlie Morton on the hill against Chicago’s James Shields. Houston currently leads the series 2-0.

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.