LEADING OFF: Twins check Sano’s leg, 3 teams oust managers
A look at what’s happening around the majors today:
The Yankees and Twins will hold workouts in New York ahead of Tuesday’s AL wild-card game at Yankee Stadium, and eyes will be on Minnesota’s Miguel Sano. The hulking slugger is 1 for 8 in three games since missing 38 games with a stress reaction in his left shin. Sano was pinch hit for in the eighth inning Sunday after he felt some discomfort in his leg, said manager Paul Molitor. The team will wait to see how he responds before making decisions on his availability for the game against the Yankees.
GOOD JOBS AVAILABLE
The day after the regular season ends can be a jittery one for managers, but three teams have gotten a jump on the offseason by dumping their skippers already. The Phillies announced that Pete Mackanin will not return as manager in 2018, though he will stay in the organization. Brad Ausmus won’t be back as manager of the Tigers, who are already interviewing candidates to replace him. And Terry Collins resigned as manager of the Mets to take a job in the team’s front office. One last-place skipper who won’t have to worry is Oakland’s Bob Melvin, whose contract was extended through 2019. Baltimore’s Buck Showalter is also considered safe despite a poor September that dropped the Orioles to their first last-place finish since 2011, Showalter’s first full season with the team.
QUESTIONS IN WASHINGTON
Bryce Harper isn’t the only Nationals player who goes into the playoffs with questions about how effective he can be. Harper, who came off the disabled list Tuesday after missing six weeks with a knee injury, went 2 for 4 on Sunday. He was 1 for 14 in his first four games after being activated. Meanwhile, Washington’s vaunted starting rotation is suddenly looking more vulnerable. Gio Gonzalez, the likely starter for Game 3 of the NL Division Series, closed out the season with two rough outings, allowing nine runs in 9 1/3 innings. And Max Scherzer left his last pre-playoffs start in the fourth inning with discomfort in his right hamstring. Scherzer said Sunday that he only “tweaked” the muscle.
BEST OF THE REST
The Brewers ended 2017 with the best record among teams that didn’t make the playoffs. Milwaukee finished 86-76, one game behind Colorado for the second NL wild card and six games back of the first-place Cubs in the NL Central. Still, the Brewers did a lot of things well in a season that saw them hold at least a share of first place for 65 days. Milwaukee improved by 13 games over the previous season. “We’ll keep our heads held high and we’ll be excited about the future for this team,” shortstop Eric Sogard said.
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