Cubs reinstate Kris Bryant from 10-day disabled list

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Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant has been activated from the 10-day disabled list and will start in Saturday’s game against the Phillies, per a club announcement. Bryant hasn’t appeared in the majors since July 23, when he suffered another bout of chronic left shoulder soreness, but has made steady progress in a lengthy rehab stint since then.

Despite losing nearly nine weeks of the regular season to shoulder issues, the 26-year-old infielder maintained a healthy .276/.380/.474 batting line, 11 home runs and an .854 OPS through 358 plate appearances in 2018. As this is the first protracted absence he’s taken from the game, it’s not certain that he’ll be able to produce the kind of All Star-level output the Cubs saw from him over the last three years, though he managed to successfully complete his latest rehab assignment in Triple-A without signs of further setbacks.

With the return of the 40-man roster, the Cubs also reinstated Addison Russell from the 10-day DL (left middle finger sprain) on Saturday, though they don’t expect to use him as much more than a defensive replacement for the time being. James Norwood, Terrance Gore, and Taylor Davis were brought up from Triple-A Iowa as well.

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.