Korean star pitcher Yang joins Rangers, ready for MLB debut

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ARLINGTON, Texas — Former Korean standout pitcher Hyeon-jong Yang joined the Texas Rangers on Monday, and was looking to make his MLB debut.

The Rangers selected the contract of the 33-year-old left-hander from their alternate training site before the opener of a three-game series against the Los Angeles Angels.

Texas optioned struggling rookie center fielder Leody Taveras to the alternate training site. To make room on the 40-man roster for Yang, the Rangers transferred first baseman/outfielder Ronald Guzman from the 10-day to 60-day injured list.

Yang had been on the team’s taxi squad for each of the first three road trips this season. He initially signed with the Rangers at the start of spring training after a 14-year career with the Kia Tigers. He was the MVP in the Korean Baseball Organization in 2017, and also the Korean Series MVP that season when the Tigers won the league championship. He won the ERA title in the KBO in 2015 and 2019.

Taveras was hitting .087 (4 for 46) with one RBIs in his 15 games. He started 14 games in center.

Guzman was placed on the injured list April 13 with a right knee meniscus cartilage tear suffered while playing left field the previous day in Tampa Bay. He is scheduled to have season-ending surgery Wednesday.

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.