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Kansas City Royals fire manager Mike Matheny

Kansas City Royals fire manager Mike Matheny

Manager Mike Matheny and pitching coach Cal Eldred were fired by the Kansas City 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. But plagued by poor pitching, struggles from young position players and a lackluster group of veterans, the Royals were largely out of playoff contention by the middle of summer.The disappointing on-field 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. He was replaced by one of his longtime understudies, J.J. Picollo, who made the decision to fire Matheny hours after the season ended.”Managing the Royals has been a true privilege,” Matheny said in a statement. “I’m thankful to so many, primarily Dayton Moore, and the coaches and players I’ve worked with. I would like to thank Mr. John Sherman and the ownership group for the opportunity to manage their team, and everyone involved in this great organization.”I came to the Royals knowing it was an organization of excellence and care, and was shown that care every single day. Royals fans should be excited about this group of players, and I look forward to watching them continue to grow.”Matheny spent parts of seven seasons managing the St. Louis Cardinals, finishing each with a winning record and winning the National League pennant in 2013. But after his firing midway through 2018, he was hired by the Royals in an advisory role, and then tapped to succeed longtime manager Ned Yost when he retired before the 2020 season.Put in charge of a rebuild in the works, Matheny went 26-34 during a COVID-19-shortened first season, then appeared to show progress last season, when the Royals ushered forward a slew of young prospects and finished 74-88.The expectation was another step forward this season, but the Royals instead spent September fighting off 100 losses.Matheny finished 165-219 during his time with the Royals, though the number that perhaps is more important to the future of the club is 29 — the number of players that made their Major League debut during his tenure.”We are grateful to Mike for leading us through some unusual times these last three seasons,” Picollo said in a statement. “He met those challenges head on and helped us move forward in a positive manner. We thank him for his leadership and know his influence will have a positive impact moving forward.”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. 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.Chicago White Sox manager Tony La Russa left the team on Aug. 30 for medical tests and said Monday he will not return for 2023.In addition, Miami’s Don Mattingly said late last month that he will not return next season.While he was well-liked in the Kansas City clubhouse, it seemed unlikely Matheny would be granted another season when Moore was fired last month. Sherman indicated at the time the change in the leadership of the baseball operations department was only the start of what was expected to be widespread shifts throughout the organization.The Royals have struggled for years to develop pitching — they had the fourth-worst ERA and the worst WHIP by far of any staff in the majors this season. And the continued struggles by their latest wave of young arms was a big reason for letting go of Eldred, the pitching coach since 2018.”The bottom line here is it’s time for change,” Sherman said last month. “There is a gap right now between where we are and where we expected to be. … I felt like in 2021 we did make progress, and in 2022, that’s not how I feel. There have been some bright spots — I love seeing the young players — but in 2022, we are not where we expected to be.”Reporting by The Associated Press. Get more from Major League Baseball Follow your favorites to get information about games, news and more in this topic

Countdown to the MLB Playoffs: Playoff bracket set

Countdown to the MLB Playoffs: Playoff bracket set

The 2022 MLB postseason field is set in stone.The top two division winners in each league will receive byes to the Division Series. The other four teams in each league will play best-of-three series in the wild-card round, with the higher seed hosting all three games.Here’s how the 2022 postseason will shake out:NATIONAL LEAGUEThe Los Angeles Dodgers (110-51) own the best record in the sport and clinched the No. 1 overall seed throughout the NL playoffs. They will face the winner of the wild-card matchup between the fourth-seeded New York Mets (100-61) and fifth-seed San Diego Padres (89-72) in the divisional round. In the regular season, the Padres were 4-2 against the Mets. The Dodgers were 14-5 against the Padres and 3-4 against New York.The second-seeded Atlanta Braves (101-60), winners of the NL East, also earned a free pass to the divisional round, where they will await the winner of the wild-card tilt between the third-seeded St. Louis Cardinals (93-68) and the sixth-seeded Philadelphia Phillies (87-74).In the regular season, the Philly was 4-3 against the Cards. The Braves were 11-8 against the Phillies and 4-3 against St. Louis.AMERICAN LEAGUEThe Houston Astros (105-56) won the AL West and are the top-seed in the American League. They will play the winner of the wild-card matchup between the fourth-seeded Toronto Blue Jays (91-69) and the fifth-seeded Seattle Mariners (89-72).In the regular season, the Mariners were 5-2 against Toronto. The Astros were 12-7 against Seattle but just 2-4 against the Jays.The New York Yankees (99-62), winners of the AL East, are the second seed and will play the winner of the third-seeded Cleveland Guardians (91-70) and the sixth-seeded Tampa Bay Rays (86-75) in the divisional round.In the regular season, Cleveland was 4-2 against the Rays. The Yankees were 5-1 against the Guardians and 11-8 against Tampa Bay. Get more from Major League Baseball Follow your favorites to get information about games, news and more in this topic

Publishing executive charged in Tokyo Olympic bribes scandal

Publishing executive charged in Tokyo Olympic bribes scandal

TOKYO — A top executive at a major Japanese publisher was charged Tuesday with bribing a former Tokyo Olympics organizing committee member.The charges against Tsuguhiko Kadokawa, a major figure in Japan’s movie and entertainment industry, are the latest in the unfolding corruption scandal related to last year’s Tokyo Summer Games. Kadokawa was arrested Sept. 14 on suspicion of bribing Haruyuki Takahashi with 69 million yen ($480,000).Takahashi, a former executive at advertising company Dentsu who joined the Tokyo Olympic organizing committee in 2014, had great influence in arranging sponsorships for the Games. He has been arrested and re-arrested three times since August. All the while, he has remained in custody and is also facing bribery allegations involving two other companies: Aoki Holdings, a clothing company that dressed Japan’s Olympic team, and Daiko Advertising Inc. Tagging on additional allegations, which keeps a suspect in custody, is known as “hostage justice,” and is a widely criticized but common practice in Japan. Analysts say the arrests and charges may continue for months in the Olympics scandal, as more than 50 companies were sponsors. Kadokawa, the son of the publishing company’s founder, said in a statement carried on Japanese media that he would quit as chairman. “I feel I must take responsibility. Kadokawa is facing a serious challenge, and a new leadership is needed so it can be overcome,” he said. Several other officials at the companies accused of bribery have been arrested, including two other Kadokawa employees. Tokyo-based Kadokawa Group, which also makes movies and games, said it takes the charges seriously.“We deeply and repeatedly apologize to our readers, users, writers and creators, shareholders and investors and all others who may have been affected,” the company said in a statement.Prosecutors say Takahashi acted in ways to favor the companies with business benefits related to the Olympics in return for the bribes.The official price tag for the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics was $13 billion, mostly public money. The Games were postponed for a year because of the coronavirus pandemic.———Yuri Kageyama is on Twitter https://twitter.com/yurikageyama———More AP sports: https://apnews.com/hub/sports and https://twitter.com/AP—Sports

Rams LB Bobby Wagner flattens protester who gets on field

Rams LB Bobby Wagner flattens protester who gets on field

SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Bobby Wagner delivered one of the biggest hits on a person who got onto the field.The Rams linebacker flattened the protester who ran on the field with a device emitting pink smoke late in the second quarter of Los Angeles’ game against the San Francisco 49ers on Monday night.“I just saw someone running on the field,” Wagner said. “It looked like he wasn’t supposed to be on the field so I saw security was having a problem so I helped them out.” With less than a minute left in the first half, the person got onto the field and ran across while being chased by security as the pink smoke filled the field. As the person ran toward the Rams sideline, linebacker Takkarist McKinley came toward him before Wagner came off the sideline and laid him out with a big hit.“I saw Bobby Wagner taking somebody out,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said. “I thought that was kind of cool to see.” The protester was taken off the field by security and the game quickly resumed.Earlier in the game, another person tried to get onto the field with a similar device, but was stopped by security.———More AP NFL coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl and https://twitter.com/AP—NFL

Kemp's RBI single in 10th lifts Athletics past Angels 5-4

Kemp's RBI single in 10th lifts Athletics past Angels 5-4

OAKLAND, Calif. — Pinch hitter Tony Kemp had an RBI single in the bottom of the 10th inning, capping a spirited comeback that sent the Oakland Athletics to a 5-4 victory over the Los Angeles Angels on Monday night.Cristian Bride’s sacrifice bunt leading off the inning against Angels reliever Zack Weiss (0-1) advanced automatic runner Jonah Bride to third, and Kemp punched a single through the right side of the infield to drive in the winning run.“This is a really good team win,” Oakland manager Mark Kotsay said. “A lot of excitement there late in the game, the energy picked up in the dugout. It was great to see.”The A’s trailed 4-2 going into the bottom of the ninth and were down to their last out when Seth Brown’s two-run single off Aaron Loup tied it. Loup blew his fifth save in six attempts.“It’s huge, especially for all the young guys, to watch how they battled and the resiliency they showed,” Kemp said. “It’s a lot of the things that they can build off of and learn from and take into next year.”Ernie Clement doubled and Nick Allen walked to start the inning against reliever José Quijad before Angels manager Phil Nevin summoned Weiss.Kemp said he was sitting on a slider — Weiss’ favorite pitch to left-handers — after looking at a first-pitch fastball.“Once I saw the slider pop, I just tried to get on top of it and not get under it,” Kemp said. “Luckily the first baseman didn’t make the play.”Domingo Acevedo (4-4) pitched a scoreless 10th inning for the win.Oakland reliever Jared Koenig pitched four scoreless and hitless innings.The Angels were one out away from extending their season-high winning streak to eight games, which would have been their longest since a 10-game streak Sept. 4-13, 2014.Shohei Ohtani was 1 for 4 with a double to extend his career-high hitting streak to 18 games, and Liván Soto and Taylor Ward each had two hits for the Angels.Allen had two hits for Oakland, which has won two straight after losing six in a row.The Angels broke a scoreless tie in the bottom of the fourth on Jo Adell’s two-out, two-run bases-loaded single that slipped through the hole on the left side of the infield.A’s starter Adrián Martínez gave up four runs and seven hits and two walks and struck out five in 4 1/3 innings. HOT PITCHERAngels starter Patrick Sandoval left the game with a 4-0 lead after throwing six innings of five-hit ball. Sandoval who struck out six and gave up one walk, has a 1.83 ERA over his last 10 starts.He lowered his ERA to 2.91.“Over a full season to be under three is a pretty big accomplishment for myself, and something I kind of set out to do, so I’m pretty pleased with that,” Sandoval said.RENDON RETURNSAnthony Rendon returned the lineup for the first time since going on the injured list June 17 with right wrist inflammation, for which the Angels star third baseman underwent surgery.Rendon was 0 for 2 with two strikeouts and made a throwing error at third before being replaced by Luis Rengifo in the bottom of the fourth.Rendon, who is in the third year of a seven-year $245 million contract, was activated Wednesday, but had to serve a five-game suspension for his role in a brawl in a game against Seattle.PATERNITY LISTThe A’s placed infielder Vimael Machín on the paternity list and selected infielder Nate Mondou from Triple-A Las Vegas.UP NEXTAngels: RHP Michael Lorenzen (8-6, 4.52 ERA) pitched five innings of three-hit ball Wednesday in a 4-1 win against Oakland. He has a 3.05 ERA in four September starts.Athletics: LHP Cole Irvin (9-13, 4.11) has given up 11 runs (10 earned) and 20 hits with three walks in 8 2/3 innings over his last two starts. He’s 2-6 with a 3.11 ERA in nine career starts against Los Angeles.“Writing the name in there is pretty cool for me,” Nevin said. “He’ll be back in there tomorrow. He feels good. He’ll go longer in the game if not the whole game, so I’m excited for him.———More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb and https://twitter.com/AP—Sports

Women to get more rest between hoop games at next World Cup

Women to get more rest between hoop games at next World Cup

SYDNEY — Players at this year’s World Cup had a few concerns about the competition, including the compact schedule and the timing of the tournament and the women took their complaints right to the top.FIBA Secretary General Andreas Zagklis, who talked with many of the players during the course of the recently competed tournament. He offered a quick solution for the rest concerns, but changing the date will take more work.The next World Cup in 2026 will once again feature 16 teams instead of the 12 at this year’s tournament — and players will have more to recuperate between the final rounds.“We will not play three days in a row, that will not happen again,” Zagklis said. “This is not something we want to see repeated. It’s too heavy on the players.”At this year’s tournament, the quarterfinals, semifinals and medal games were played over three straight days. Overall, teams that reached the gold medal game would have played eight games in 10 days. The 2018 World Cup had a break between the quarters and the medal round.While the scheduling change is a welcomed positive step for the players, there’s still the issue of timing. The WNBA tried to work with FIBA by shortening its season. Still, the league’s playoffs continued until the start of the World Cup, forcing about a dozen players to basically travel a few thousand miles, get off a plane and start playing for their national teams.Many European leagues tip off soon after the World Cup ends, so it’s difficult to move it to a later start date.Zagklis said FIBA will be working with the stakeholders to provide the best possible solution for the players — though indicating the change will likely have to come from the WNBA or the other pro leagues.“The World Cup is turning next year 70 years old, the women’s world has been there much before virtually every women’s league in the world and it is the top female competition,” Zagklis. “So the calendar starts again with the World Cup.”USA Basketball chairman Martin Dempsey said there is a sense of urgency for FIBA to address the scheduling problem, especially with the WNBA set to expand over the next few years.“The time to have that conversation is before it happens, not after,” Dempsey said. “So we really do need to figure out with the ‘W,’ the NBA and FIBA how to keep all of these enterprises viable because we don’t want to run the risk of creating a very diluted World Cup.”We’ve got to have a really serious ongoing conversation about how to keep things in sync so that they don’t clash.”Five of the U.S. players competed in the WNBA Finals that ended three days before the World Cup started. Chelsea Gray, Kelsey Plum and tournament MVP A’ja Wilson missed the Americans first two games.Before the scheduling change was announced, players made their positions clear.“I don’t know if FIBA gave a damn about anyone,” Plum said. “Rest would be a good thing,” Wilson said. “Having some time between would definitely help.”The site for the 2026 World Cup hasn’t been announced yet and getting to Australia might have been the most difficult place for everyone because of its location. Serbia coach Marina Maljković noticed how tired many players were. She coaches in Turkey in the winter and said players across the leagues need a break.“You see a lot of players that lacked freshness. You can see it, any single team going from club season to WNBA, WNBA to national team,” Maljković said. “This year it’s very, very complicated. … Talking to players, they really suffered this season because of the tight schedule everywhere. I guess there will be smart people who will sit around the table and see what we can do about that.”Aside from the logistical issues, the World Cup was a huge success in Australia. The total attendance of 145,519 was the highest-ever in the history of the competition. There were nearly 16,000 fans at the gold medal game between the U.S. and China, which was the largest since the 1953 championship game that was played in Chile in a stadium that had 35,000 fans. “By all metrics, we have seen a tremendous effort by the hosts,” Zagklis said. “Record sales in merchandise, record attendances, fantastic atmosphere in the games, so it’s hard to challenge the conclusion that we’ve been able to experience the best World Cup ever.”———More AP women’s basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/womens-basketball and https://twitter.com/AP—Sports

Gonsolin returns from IL for Dodgers in 2-1 loss to Rockies

Gonsolin returns from IL for Dodgers in 2-1 loss to Rockies

LOS ANGELES — All-Star pitcher Tony Gonsolin tossed two innings in his return from the injured list, an encouraging sign for the playoff-bound Los Angeles Dodgers in their 2-1 loss to the Colorado Rockies on Monday night.Trayce Thompson homered for the NL West champions, who have already clinched home-field advantage throughout the postseason.Michael Toglia singled home the tiebreaking run for the Rockies in the ninth off Brusdar Graterol (2-4), scoring Sean Bouchard.Jake Bird (2-4) worked two hitless innings and Justin Lawrence got three outs for his first career save. Gonsolin, who is 16-1 with a 2.14 ERA during a breakout season, pitched for the first time since Aug. 23 after missing 40 games with forearm tightness. He struck out three and allowed one earned run on three hits. “I noticed warming up I was pretty nervous out there. I haven’t felt that in a while,” Gonsolin said. “I tried to go out and execute pitches. I did a little bit of that but I have a couple things to work on in the next bullpen.”The right-hander threw 40 pitches, which included a long second inning in which he faced six batters. He went to the dugout, then got up again and threw more in the bullpen after his outing.“Just (need to be) throwing more quality pitches,” Gonsolin said. “Threw a lot of balls that were non-competitive. Just kind of trying to make that adjustment.”Gonsolin will throw a simulated game next and then is expected to be ready for the best-of-five Division Series beginning Oct. 11.Los Angeles used eight relievers.José Ureña had a solid final start of the season for Colorado in an otherwise tough year that started with Milwaukee. He permitted one run and five hits in six innings with four strikeouts and no walks.Thompson homered in the third and singled in the fifth. He equaled a career best with his 13th home run, set in 2016 during his first stint with the Dodgers.”It’s only been a couple of good games, really,” Thompson said. “I feel good. Just got to stick with the process and take one pitch at a time.”Colorado took the lead in the second on Bouchard’s run-scoring double. He had a career-high three hits, including a pair of doubles.LA STORYBouchard and Toglia both played college ball nearby at UCLA.“To be back here in the big leagues where it matters the most is pretty special,” Bouchard said. “I’m so proud of him. That last at-bat, to pull through there and have a big at-bat at the end against a guy like Graterol is huge.”MOOKIE MAGICMookie Betts’ daughter, Kynlee, threw out the first pitch and he was behind the plate for it. It was Betts’ bobblehead night at Dodger Stadium.TRAINER’S ROOMDodgers: OF Chris Taylor (neck) received a cortisone injection, and manager Dave Roberts is “hopeful” that Taylor will be ready to play in the Division Series. UP NEXTRockies: RHP Ryan Feltner (3-9, 6.01 ERA) gave up 18 earned runs over five starts in September, five of which came Thursday in a loss to San Francisco. He makes his final start of the season in Los Angeles.Dodgers: LHP Julio Urías (17-7, 2.12 ERA) gets one more chance to make his case for the NL Cy Young Award. He leads the league in ERA and allowed no earned runs in his last two starts and just four over five starts in September.———More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/mlb and https://twitter.com/AP—Sports

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