Aroldis Chapman still isn’t a lock to return to the mound in 2018

Aroldis Chapman
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Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman may not return to the bullpen in 2018, general manager Brian Cashman told reporters Saturday. The left-hander has battled tendonitis in his left knee since May and managed to get through just four innings in August before hitting the disabled list. He received two platelet-rich plasma injections to relieve the soreness in his knee over the last several weeks and seems likely to evade any surgical procedures, but it looks like his return date may be pushed back indefinitely even so.

This is the first time Chapman has dealt with significant knee pain knee over the course of his nine-year career in the majors. When healthy, the 30-year-old lefty has been lights-out on the mound; he recorded 31 saves in 42 opportunities with a 2.11 ERA, 5.2 BB/9 and 16.1 SO/9 through 47 innings in 2018. Dellin Betances, Zach Britton, and David Robertson have all seen time in the closer’s role with Chapman still on the mend, and it’s expected that the Yankees will continue to roll with the closer-by-committee approach as they enter the final month of the season.

According to MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch, Cashman also revealed that Chapman’s lingering injury was a motivating factor for the organization’s acquisition of Britton at the July trade deadline. Since then, Britton has recorded one save and pitched to a 4.70 ERA, 4.1 BB/9 and 7.0 SO/9 through 15 1/3 innings.

Royals fire manager Mike Matheny after 65-97 end to season

Minnesota Twis v Kansas City Royals
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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.