Michael Fulmer may not pitch again in 2018

Michael Fulmer
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Tigers right-hander Michael Fulmer isn’t a lock to return to the rotation this year after sustaining a knee injury during Saturday’s game against the Indians. While Cleveland advanced toward the postseason with a 15-0 win and another division title, Detroit lost their starter after just five pitches.

According to catcher James McCann‘s postgame comments, Fulmer dropped a few miles off his pitches at the start of the game, which made him a sitting duck for Francisco Lindor and Michael Brantley as they cracked back-to-back home runs in the first inning. Even more alarming, Fulmer’s velocity issues also revealed some problems with his knee, and he was quickly pulled from the game and later diagnosed with a case of right knee inflammation.

At this point, it’s still unclear how much time the right-hander might miss, and the Tigers will reserve a final judgment until they receive the results of his MRI on Monday. Given that Fulmer has just two scheduled starts remaining over the final two weeks of the regular season, a return to the mound seems somewhat unlikely. Following Saturday’s performance, the 25-year-old hurler has pitched to a disappointing 3-12 record in 24 starts with a 4.69 ERA, 3.1 BB/9 and 7.5 SO/9 through 132 1/3 frames this year.

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.