Royals’ Whit Merrifield ends streak of playing 553 straight games

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Royals infielder Whit Merrifield‘s streak of playing in a franchise-record 553 straight games ended when he missed the opener of a doubleheader against Detroit because of a toe injury.

Merrifield’s string dated to June 24, 2018, and was the longest active streak in the majors.

“It’s been a great run for Whit,” Kansas City manager Mike Matheny said. “It’s just been impressive the way he’s been able to go about it.”

Merrifield exited Sunday’s game with right toe discomfort. He was fitted with a walking boot and is expected to be placed on the injured list due to a bone bruise and ligament swelling.

“I’ve been lucky . in some instances, but I’ve put myself in a good position to play every day mentality-wise. I showed up to play no matter the circumstance. It’s been a long run and I’m proud of it,” he said.

The 33-year-old Merrifield is hitting .240 with 36 RBIs this season. The two-time All-Star led the AL with 42 doubles and 40 stolen bases last year.

Cal Ripken Jr. holds the all-time record of playing 2,632 straight games.


Brian Cashman signs 4-year contract to remain Yankees GM

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SAN DIEGO — Brian Cashman has signed a four-year contract to remain the New York Yankees Senior Vice President and General Manager. The announcement was made during the first day of baseball’s Winter Meetings.

Cashman, New York’s GM since 1998, had been working on a handshake agreement since early November, when his five-year contract expired.

The Yankees were swept by four games in the AL Championship Series and haven’t reached the World Series since winning in 2009. It is the franchise’s longest title drought since an 18-year gap between 1978-96.

Cashman’s main goal during the offseason is trying to re-sign AL MVP Aaron Judge.

Judge hit an American League-record 62 homers this season with a .311 batting average and 131 RBIs. He turned down the Yankees’ offer on the eve of opening day of a seven-year contract that would have paid $213.5 million from 2023-29.

While Judge remains on the market, Cashman was able to re-sign Anthony Rizzo on Nov. 15 to a two-year contract worth $40 million after turning down a $16 million player option.

Cashman has been the Yankees general manager since 1998. He has been with the organization since 1986, when he was a 19-year old intern in the scouting department. In his 25 seasons as GM, the Yankees have reached the postseason 21 times, including four World Series championships and six American League titles.