Hunter Pence says he’s not retiring

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Hunter Pence likely played his last game for the Giants yesterday. They said goodbye, gave him a parting gift — a scooter — and everything. If it’s up to him, however, he hasn’t played his last game as a big leaguer. From Alex Pavlovic’ story of Pence’s final game as a Giant at NBC Sports Bay Area, here’s Pence’s view of his baseball-playing future:

“I feel strong, I feel healthy, I feel fast. I’m going to work on flexibility and changing my swing completely . . . I want to still play. It’s uncertain — hopefully I can find an opportunity, and I’m going to look for it. I’m going to do everything I can to be the best I can because I want to come back and contribute to another playoff run.”

Pavlovic reports that Pence plans to play winter ball in either Mexico or the Dominican Republic with the hope of leveraging good play south of the border into an invite to a big league camp next spring.

Pence, 35, hit .226/.258/.332 with four homers and 24 driven in in 97 games in 2018. He has not been a useful player since 2016 and has averaged only 97 games played over the past four seasons due to myriad health problems.

If he shows he’s healthy this offseason it would not be shocking to see him get a minor league deal someplace, but we may very well have seen the last of Hunter Pence in the big leagues.

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.