Rangers reliever Leclerc has elbow surgery, out 12-14 months

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

ARLINGTON, Texas — Rangers reliever Jose Leclerc had ligament reconstruction surgery on his right elbow Wednesday.

The Rangers said the surgery was performed by team physician Dr. Keith Meister. Leclerc will be sidelined up to 14 months.

Leclerc began the 2019 season as the Texas closer before he was demoted after a rough opening month. He made only two appearances last year before getting sidelined for the rest of the 60-game season by a shoulder injury. The elbow started bothering him during spring training in Arizona.

The 27-year-old right-hander is 6-10 with 29 saves and a 3.19 ERA in 190 games for the Rangers over the past five seasons.

Texas also goes into its season opener Thursday in Kansas City without hard-throwing reliever Jonathan Hernandez, who like Leclerc was placed on the 60-day injured list.

Hernandez was shut down during spring training because of a ligament sprain in his right elbow. An MRI revealed a low-grade ulnar collateral ligament sprain after the right-hander felt something when throwing his last batting practice session.

Hernandez had a breakout season last year, when he was 5-1 with a 2.90 ERA in 27 appearances. He had 31 strikeouts and eight walks in 31 innings, relying heavily on a sinker that averaged nearly 98 mph.

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.