Blue Jays’ 3rd homestand at spring ballpark in Dunedin

Mike Watters-USA TODAY Sports

DUNEDIN, Fla. — The Toronto Blue Jays will play their third homestand of the season at their spring training ballpark in Dunedin, Fliorida, because of COVID-19 restrictions.

Toronto announced Feb. 18 that its first two homestands will be at TD Ballpark and on Tuesday added 10 games from May 14-24 against Philadelphia, Boston and Tampa Bay.

Twenty-two of 81 home games have been switched to Florida from the Rogers Center. Toronto hopes to return home at some point in 2021.

Another possible site for home games is Sahlen Field, home of their Buffalo Bisons Triple-A farm team.. The Blue Jays played home games during the shortened 2020 season in Buffalo and were 17-9 there.

The TD Ballpark in Dunedin seats about 8,500 fans and had a major renovation in 2019-20. The Blue Jays intend to limit capacity to 15%.

Toronto last played at 49,000-capacity Rogers Centre on Sept. 29, 2019, an 8-3 win over Tampa Bay.

Toronto said weeknight games in Dunedin will start at 7:07 p.m. instead of 6:37 p.m., Saturday games at 7:07 p.m., instead of 3:07 p.m., and getaway-day games at 1:07 p.m.,

The Blue Jays open Thursday at the Ne York Yankees and host the Los Angeles Angels in their home opener on April 8.

Royals fire manager Mike Matheny after 65-97 end to season

Minnesota Twis v Kansas City Royals
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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.