Bud Norris ends 2018 season with hamstring injury

Bud Norris
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It’s been a rough month for Cardinals reliever Bud Norris, who likely saw his 2018 season come to an abrupt end after departing Friday’s 8-4 loss to the Cubs with a left hamstring injury. While the right-hander doesn’t appear to be facing a serious setback, club manager Mike Shildt told reporters that he’ll likely hold Norris back from any relief appearances over the last two games of the regular season.

Norris, 33, entered Friday’s game in the bottom of the seventh inning and almost immediately slipped on the mound during Kyle Hendricks‘ at-bat. Hendricks took a five-pitch walk to open the inning, then advanced to third base on David Bote‘s single and a throwing error by Jedd Gyorko. With runners on the corners and no outs, Norris still appeared to be in some pain and made his exit from the mound following a brief conference with Shildt and a team trainer. He was later diagnosed with left hamstring tightness.

Although the veteran righty hasn’t paid an official visit to the disabled list this season, he’s weathered a variety of minor injuries over the last several months, from a bout of right hip discomfort to a blister issue on his pitching hand. He’ll prepare to enter free agency this fall after rounding out his 10th year in the majors with a career-high 28 saves, 3.59 ERA, 3.3 BB/9, and 10.5 SO/9 through 57 2/3 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.