Brian Ellington
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Red Sox pad bullpen with Dan Runzler, Brian Ellington


The Red Sox added a pair of arms to their bullpen on Friday. Free agent left-hander Dan Runzler and right-hander Brian Ellington signed minor league pacts with the team, per Chris Cotillo of and the Boston Globe’s Alex Speier. It’s still unclear whether or not the relievers will receive invitations to camp.

Both pitchers are angling for bounce-back performances in 2019. Runzler, 33, hasn’t logged more than four innings in any single MLB season since 2011, and he hasn’t pitched effectively at that level since his rookie debut in 2010. The lefty spent the better part of the last decade ping-ponging between minor league affiliates, first with the Giants, then the Diamondbacks, Twins, and Pirates. Some of his best work has been showcased during short-lived gigs with the independent Atlantic League Sugar Land Skeeters, however, for whom he delivered a 2.81 ERA, 5.1 BB/9, and 10.9 SO/9 over 48 innings in 2018. If he doesn’t pitch his way into a major league job in 2019, he’ll deepen the Red Sox’ relief options in Triple-A.

Ellington, likewise, has not pitched for an MLB team since 2017. The 28-year-old right-hander finished his three-year run with the Marlins on a sour note, pitching to an unseemly 7.25 ERA, 7.1 BB/9, and 9.7 SO/9 across 44 2/3 frames. He caught onto a minors deal with the Diamondbacks in 2018, but struggled to shake a nagging biceps injury and lasted just 11 1/3 innings after giving up a combined 22 runs, one home run, and 15 walks in rookie, Low-A, and Double-A ball. Just what the Red Sox expect from Ellington (or any of their recent minor league signees) this year isn’t readily apparent, but they’ll undoubtedly be looking for some of the 99-MPH heat he brought to Miami in years past — without any of the pesky command issues that derailed a once-promising career path.

Ned Yost to retire as Royals manager

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The Kansas City Royals just announced that Ned Yost will retire following the final game of the season. Mike Matheny will take over as the Royals manager for the 2020 season.

Yost, 65, led the Royals to victory in the 2015 World Series and to back-to-back American League pennants in 2014 and 2015. He will retire as the winningest manager in Royals history. In ten years at the helm in Kansas City he is 744-836 with five games remaining. Before he managed the Royals he managed the Milwaukee Brewers for six seasons, compiling a 457-502 record. In all, he is 1,201-1,338. When he’s done on Sunday he will finish 32nd all-time in games managed with 2,544.

The Royals now will look for the man who will, hopefully, see the current rebuild through. Multiple reporters have cited former St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Matheny as Yost’s likely replacement. He currently serves as a special advisor in the club’s player development department. He managed the Cards from 2012-18, winning the NL pennant in 2013 and finishing with a record of 591-474 in St. Louis.

Here is the Royals official statement on Yost’s retirement: