Nationals pitcher Will Harris has blood clot in throwing arm

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WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – Washington Nationals reliever Will Harris has a blood clot in his right arm and is leaving spring training camp to be examined by a specialist, manager Dave Martinez said Friday.

“I don’t know much about what’s going to happen here. But for me, when somebody mentions something like that, it’s kind of a scary deal,” Martinez said. “Until we know more about it, then I got to assume that he’s going to not start with us this season.”

Opening day is April 1, less than two weeks away.

“He felt weird his last outing,” Martinez said. “So we kind of backed off a little bit, got an MRI, and in the arm was a little small blood clot.”

The 36-year-old Harris last pitched in an exhibition game on March 9, throwing one scoreless inning against the Houston Astros. The right-hander appeared in a “B game” on Saturday.

“Medically, I don’t know the extent of what that is. But I know it’s something that is serious,” Martinez said. “We need to take care of it. Take care of it as soon as possible. And I feel for Will, ’cause I know he was just working his tail off to help us this year.”

Harris, then with Houston, gave up a go-ahead, two-run homer to Washington’s Howie Kendrick in the seventh inning of World Series Game 7 two years ago, a game the Nationals won 6-2 for their first title.

He has been expected to be a part of a formidable back end of the bullpen along with Brad Hand and Daniel Hudson for Washington, which finished last season tied for last in the NL East.

“He’s pretty upbeat considering what’s going on,” Martinez said. “Hopefully we’ll know more sooner than later, and then we can determine what’s going to happen.”

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.