Hernández back with Red Sox after long stint on injured list

Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports
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PITTSBURGH – Infielder/outfielder Kike Hernandez returned to the Boston Red Sox on Tuesday after a more than a two-month absence as he was activated from the 15-day injured list.

Hernandez had been out with June 8 with a strained right hip flexor. He revealed before Boston’s game with Pittsburgh that he also had an internal hematoma in an abdominal muscle on his right side drained in June.

“I’ve never missed that much time in my career and I kind of felt like I wasn’t part of the team in a way,” Hernandez said. “There wasn’t anything I could do to help the team, so it was very frustrating. I feel like I lost a full season but I’m glad to be healthy and glad to be back.”

Hernandez was slated to start at shortstop on Tuesday. Xander Bogaerts was rested after fouling a ball off his right foot during a weekend series with the New York Yankees.

At the time he went on the IL, Hernandez was hitting .209 with four home runs in 51 games.

Red Sox manager Alex Cora said he will use Hernandez at both middle infield spots as well as center fielder. Hernandez was Boston’s primary center fielder last season and hit 20 homers when they reached the AL Championship Series before losing to Houston.

The Red Sox began the night five games out of the AL’s third and final wild-card spot. Hernandez is hoping to give Boston a spark down the stretch.

“I’ve been to the postseason seven years in a row, and I want to make it eight,” he said.

The Red Sox also activated infielder/outfielder Rob Refsnyder from the 15-day IL. He had been sidelined since July 30 with a strained right knee.

Infielder Yolmer Sanchez was designated for assignment to open spots on the 26-day and 40-man rosters. The Red Sox optioned outfielder Jaylin Davis to Triple-A Worcester on Sunday night to clear another roster spot.

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.