Ron Roenicke fired by Red Sox after one season

Mary Holt-USA TODAY Sports
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BOSTON — Ron Roenicke waited five years after his previous managerial job for another opportunity.

When it finally came, it wasn’t much of an opportunity at all.

The Red Sox told Roenicke before the final game of the season on Sunday that he will not be back in 2021, ending his tenure as a one-year, shotgun stopgap for a pandemic-shortened season with a last-place finish in the AL East.

Hurriedly hired on the eve of spring training after Alex Cora was caught cheating during his time in Houston, Roenicke took over a roster that would soon shed 2018 AL MVP Mookie Betts and 2012 AL Cy Young winner David Price, who were traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Ace Chris Sale (Tommy John surgery) and Eduardo Rodriguez (COVID-19) never threw a pitch for the team this year.

“It’s hard to answer whether I think it’s fair or not. It’s baseball,” Roenicke said after the Red Sox beat Atlanta 9-1 to wind up 24-36. “In the end I’m just not the guy that they want to move forward with. Pridefully it hurts, because I know what I’m doing. I think I got the best out of the players.”

Chief Baseball Officer Chaim Bloom met with Roenicke in Atlanta on Sunday morning to give him the news. The Red Sox went on to win the finale; afterward, the team said their goodbyes in the visitor’s clubhouse.

“That was a little tough,” Roenicke said, “a little emotional.”

Bloom praised Roenicke, who also spent five years managing in Milwaukee, for navigating the coronavirus shutdown and for holding the team together when racial protests interrupted the season. Asked whether Roenicke was in a a no-win situation, Bloom said, “I think that’s a fair assessment.”

“He did a tremendous job under really challenging and basically unprecedented circumstances,” Bloom said.

Sure to get attention as a possible successor: Cora, who led the Red Sox to a World Series championship in 2018, his first season as a major league manager. The team split with him less than a month before spring training after he was identified as the ringleader in the Houston sign-stealing scandal; Cora’s one-year suspension for that scandal ends after the World Series.

With Cora gone, the Red Sox promoted Roenicke from bench coach to interim manager. They removed the temporary tag in April, during the coronavirus shutdown, when Roenicke was cleared in the commissioner’s investigation into sign-stealing by the Red Sox during their championship season.

He was not given an extension on the one year he had remaining on the contract he had signed as a bench coach — fueling speculation that Cora could be welcomed back after serving his penalty.

The Red Sox dismissed such suggestions dismissed such suggestions at the time, but on Sunday Bloom refused to rule a return either in or out.

“I thought Ron deserved to be evaluated without anyone looking over his shoulder,” Bloom said, declining to comment further because “I don’t want to say anything about Alex that I haven’t said to Alex.”

Roenicke, 64, managed the Brewers from 2010-15, winning 96 games and the NL Central title in his first season and finishing as runner-up for NL manager of the year. In all, he led Milwaukee to a 342-331 record in five seasons.

The Red Sox spent much of the shortened season in last place in the division, and finished there on Sunday when the Orioles won their finale to end up one game ahead. Bloom said he wanted to break the news to Roenicke before the end of the season, so he could say his goodbyes in person.

“If Ron wanted the chance to look his players in the eye before we part ways … I didn’t want to take that from him,” Bloom said.

Shortstop Xander Bogaerts told Roenicke before the game he would hit a home run for him, and he did.

“I feel like he was just the perfect guy for the situation with this tough year,” he said. “It was tough coming to the ballpark, especially losing a lot. He just found a good way to communicate with us and try to make us feel good and important to come to the ballpark everyday and make sure to play. He’s definitely someone we will miss. It was a tough day.”

An infielder on Boston’s 2007 champions, Cora was mentioned 11 times in Commissioner Rob Manfred’s decision on the Astros, which said Cora developed the cheating system. Cora left Houston to become Boston’s manager after the 2017 season and led the Red Sox to a franchise-record 108 regular-season wins and the World Series title.

But fallout from the Astros investigation cost Cora and newly hired New York Mets manager Carlos Beltran their jobs.

Roenicke said he didn’t feel like he was holding a seat for Cora.

“Alex should be managing. He did a really good job here,” said Roenicke, who was a bench coach on Cora’s staff. “I’m hoping he does this again. Whether it’s here or its somewhere else, he should be managing.”

Phillies’ ace Nola loses no-hitter in seventh, wins game 8-3 over Tigers

Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
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PHILADELPHIA – Aaron Nola took a no-hitter into the seventh inning and struck out 12, Trea Turner homered twice among his four hits to lead the Philadelphia Phillies to their third straight win, 8-3 over the Detroit Tigers on Monday night.

Nola (5-4) fanned 10 and had faced the minimum through six as he tried to pitch the Phillies’ first no-hitter since 2015. The ace right-hander ran into trouble in the seventh when two batters reached on a walk and a fielding error. Nola still had two outs when he hung an 0-2 breaking ball to Nick Maton and the former Phillie crushed one into right to make it a 5-3 game.

Maton’s bat-flip homer was the only hit allowed by Nola. He walked three over seven innings.

Seranthony Domínguez and Andrew Vasquez each tossed a scoreless inning out of the bullpen.

Nola walked Jake Marisnick with two outs in the third inning but the outfielder was out at first base on a caught stealing by catcher J.T. Realmuto. Nola walked Maton with one out in the fifth but the baserunner was erased after Eric Haase hit into an inning-ending double play.

Nola threw 68 of 108 pitches for strikes in front of 33,196 fans. Nola, who recorded two strikeouts on automatic strike three calls, has now pitched at least six innings in each of hit last 10 starts.

He improved to 83-66 in a career spent all with the Phillies since his debut in 2015. The right-handed ace is a free agent at the end of the season. Nola and the Phillies tabled contract talks in spring training, with no plans to resume until the offseason.

Nola’s no-no stalled, too.

There have been no no-hitters in the majors this season, the first since Major League Baseball introduced a pitch clock. There were a record nine in 2021 and four last year.

The Phillies returned home from a 4-6 road trip in search of some last season’s June success that squashed a miserable start and led them to the NL championship. So far, so good. The Phillies won the last two games in Washington and kept the wins coming at home. They scored one run in each of the first three innings on Turner’s RBI single, Nick Castellanos’ run-scoring double, and Turner’s solo shot in the third.

Bryce Harper added an RBI single in the fifth. Turner connected the same inning off Tigers starter Joey Wentz (1-6) for his seventh homer of the season and first multi-homer game with the Phillies.

Turner has slumped in the first season of an 11-year, $300 million deal. He hit just .143 on the road trip but now has three homers in his last two home games.

VETERAN MOVE

Tigers DH Miguel Cabrera, who has said he will retire at the end of the season, is the last active player who played at Veterans Stadium. The Phillies last played in their now-razed former stadium in 2003. He played six games at the Vet in 2003 with the Florida Marlins. The Phillies will honor Cabrera before Wednesday’s game.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Phillies: LHP José Alvarado (left elbow inflammation) is set to make a rehab appearance in Double-A Reading. … CF Cristian Pache (right meniscus tear) is “swinging and missing quite a bit,” according to manager Rob Thomson, in his minor league rehab games.

UP NEXT

The Phillies send RHP Taijuan Walker (4-3, 5.65 ERA) to the mound. The Tigers did not name a starter.