JaCoby Jones exits game with back tightness

JaCoby Jones
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Tigers outfielder JaCoby Jones exited Saturday’s game with a case of left lower back tightness, per a team announcement. Jones lasted six innings during the Tigers’ 2-1 win over the Indians, but wasn’t able to make it past the sixth inning and was replaced by Victor Reyes to start the seventh. He’s considered day to day for the time being.

Prior to his departure, Jones went 1-for-1 with a walk and a two-run home run, his eighth of the season. The blast — a 360-footer over the left-field wall — single-handedly gave the Tigers the edge they needed to move past the Indians and even the series. It’s a welcome improvement on a batting line that sat around .206/.261/.357 with seven home runs and a .618 OPS entering Saturday’s contest.

Jones wasn’t the only Tigers player to draw health concerns this weekend. Southpaw Francisco Liriano was scratched from his scheduled start with an allergic reaction and sent to the hospital to undergo tests, though nothing conclusive appears to have been revealed just yet. Fellow lefty Blaine Hardy stepped in for Liriano on Saturday and tossed five innings of one-run, one-strikeout ball to secure the win.

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.