Jake Arrieta
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Jake Arrieta diagnosed with bone spur in elbow

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Phillies right-hander Jake Arrieta is dealing with a serious injury, the club confirmed Sunday. According to comments by manager Gabe Kapler, Arrieta revealed he had been pitching with a bone spur in his right elbow in the days leading up to his scheduled start against the Mets on Saturday night. Now, it looks like the Phillies will have the righty undergo further tests before they determine whether or not he can continue pitching this season, a process that may ultimately result in a season-ending surgical procedure.

Despite Arrieta raising the issue prior to his latest outing, he still went to the mound for 4 1/3 innings on Saturday. Things went about as well as could be expected from a player battling a bone spur in his pitching elbow: He allowed five earned runs on 11 hits and struck out four of 26 batters, permitting the Mets to take the lead en route to their eventual 6-5 win.

In the bottom of the fifth, for reasons that Arrieta later claimed were due to the injury, he followed a strikeout to Michael Conforto with a hit-by-pitch to Todd Frazier, prompting a heated reaction from Frazier that nearly ended in a benches-clearing dispute between the teams. Arrieta added fuel to that particular fire after the game, telling reporters, “Frazier’s not happy about it, he can come and see me. I’ll put a dent in his skull.” (“He can say what he wants,” Frazier responded, “I’m just sick of getting hit.”)

Bone spur issues and allegedly unintentional plunkings notwithstanding, it’s been a rough season for the 33-year-old hurler. Leaving Saturday’s loss, he’s 8-7 through 18 starts with a 4.67 ERA, 3.3 BB/9, and 7.1 SO/9, the worst output the Phillies have seen from him since he inked a three-year, $75 million deal with them in 2018. Since the start of June, his numbers have only spiraled downwards; he’s given up 3+ runs in every outing but one and pitched to an unsightly 5.65 ERA over just five starts.

If there’s any hope for Arrieta’s quick return to the mound, it’s that he previously pitched through a bone spur in his right elbow during his rookie campaign with the Orioles in 2010. He later underwent surgery to remove the obstruction in the summer of 2011 and pitched successfully upon his return in 2012, though it took another two seasons before he started hitting career-high marks.

Astros owner Crane expects to hire new manager by Feb. 3

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HOUSTON (AP) — Houston Astros owner Jim Crane expects to hire a new manager by Feb. 3.

The Astros need a new manager and general manager after AJ Hinch and Jeff Luhnow were fired Monday, hours after both were suspended by Major League Baseball for a year for the team’s sign-stealing scandal.

Crane said Friday that he’s interviewed a number of candidates this week and has some more to talk to in the coming days.

Crane refused to answer directly when asked if former Astros player and Hall of Famer Craig Biggio was a possibility for the job. But he did say that he had spoken to Biggio, fellow Hall of Famer Jeff Bagwell and former Astros star Lance Berkman in the days since the firings.

“We’ve talked to all of our Killer B’s,” Crane said referring to the nickname the three shared while playing for the Astros. “They’ve contacted me and they’ve all expressed that they would like to help. Berkman, Bagwell, Biggio have all called and said: ‘hey, if there’s anything I can do, I’m here for you.’”

“So we’ll continue to visit with those guys and see if there’s something there.”

Crane says his list is still rather extensive and that he hopes to have it narrowed down by the end of next week. He added that he expects most of Hinch’s staff to stay in place regardless of who is hired.

Crane has enlisted the help of three or four employees to help him with the interview process, including some in Houston’s baseball operations department.

“We compare notes,” he said. “I’ve learned a long time ago that you learn a lot if four or five people talk to a key candidate and you get a lot more information. So that’s what we’re doing.”

Crane’ top priority is finding a manager with spring training less than a month away, but he said he would start focusing on the search for a general manager after he hires a manager. He expects to hire a GM before the end of spring training.

“We should have another good season with the team pretty much intact … so I don’t know why a manager wouldn’t want to come in and manage these guys,” he said. “They’re set to win again.”

The penalties announced by MLB commissioner Rob Manfred on Monday came after he found illicit use of electronics to steal signs in Houston’s run to the 2017 World Series championship and again in the 2018 season. The Astros were also fined $5 million, which is the maximum allowed under the Major League Constitution, and must forfeit their next two first- and second-round amateur draft picks.

The investigation found that the Astros used the video feed from a center field camera to see and decode the opposing catcher’s signs. Players banged on a trash can to signal to batters what was coming, believing it would improve the batter’s odds of getting a hit.

With much still in flux, Crane was asked what qualities are most important to him in his next manager.

“Someone mature that can handle the group,” he said. “Someone that’s had a little bit of experience in some areas. We’ve just got to find a leader that can handle some pressure and there’s going to be a little bit of pressure from where this team has been in the last few months.”

Despite his comment about experience, Crane said having been a major league manager before is not mandatory to him.

“We made some mistakes,” he said. “We made a decision to let that get behind us. We think the future is bright. We’ll make the adjustments … people think we’re in crisis. I certainly don’t believe that.”