George Springer’s Blue Jays’ debut delayed by start on injured list

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
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NEW YORK — George Springer‘s Toronto Blue Jays debut will be delayed while he starts the season on the injured list with a strained oblique muscle.

Springer left the Houston Astros to sign a $150 million, six-year contract with the Blue Jays.

The 2017 World Series MVP with Houston was scratched from a game on March 9 because of tightness in his abdominal muscles and did not play in any exhibitions after March 21.

The 31-year-old Springer hit .240 with one homer and two RBIs in 25 at-bats over 10 spring training games. Manager Charlie Montoyo said Springer had a second MRI.

“He’s going to start the season on the IL,” Montoyo said Wednesday at Yankee Stadium. “The MRI showed improvement, which is great. Our hope is to get him back as soon as possible.”

Springer was dressed in uniform for the workout.

Montoyo said Ross Stripling will follow Hyun Jin Ryu in the rotation and will start Saturday at Yankee Stadium and that T.J. Zeuch was likely to start Sunday’s series finale. Left-hander Steven Matz is further back in the rotation.

“He’s earned it. He’s pitched really well. He pitched really well last year. And he pitched really well in the spring,” Montoyo said of Zeuch. “So I’m not going to say he’s going to be a starter, but it’s a choice because of what he’s done.”

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.