Phillies

Joe Girardi fired by Yankees after 10 seasons as manager

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Joe Girardi fired by Yankees after 10 seasons as manager

Joe Girardi was fired as New York Yankees manager Thursday after a decade that produced just one World Series title for a team that expects to win every year.

Yankees general manager Brian Cashman made the announcement five days after New York lost to Houston in Game 7 of the AL Championship Series.

"With a heavy heart, I come to you because the Yankees have decided not to bring me back," Girardi said in a statement released by his agent, Steven Mandell. "I'd like to thank the fans for their great support as a player, coach and manager and the lasting memories of their passion and excitement during the playoff games."

An intense and driven former All-Star catcher, Girardi was at the end of his four-year contract and said last weekend he had to speak with his family before deciding whether he wanted to return. New York made the decision for him.

"Everything this organization does is done with careful and thorough consideration, and we've decided to pursue alternatives for the managerial position," Cashman said in a statement.

Girardi's 910-710 regular-season record with the Yankees is sixth in victories managing the team behind Joe McCarthy (1,460), Joe Torre (1,173), Casey Stengel (1,149), Miller Huggins (1,067) and Ralph Houk (944).

Cashman said he and owner Hal Steinbrenner had spoken directly with Girardi this week.

"He has a tireless work ethic, and put his heart into every game he managed over the last decade," Cashman said. "He should take great pride in our accomplishments during his tenure."

Girardi wore uniform No. 25 as a player with the Yankees from 1996-99, when he helped win three titles, but switched to No. 27 when he earned the manager's job over Don Mattingly and succeeded Torre after the 2007 season -- signifying the team's quest for its 27th championship. Girardi took uniform No. 28 after leading the team to a World Series victory over Philadelphia in 2009.

New York changed managers 20 times from 1973, when George Steinbrenner bought the team, through October 1995, when Torre replaced Buck Showalter. But the Yankees have had just two managers in 22 years since.

New York became the third of the 10 postseason teams to remove managers, joining Boston and Washington. There is no clear favorite to replace him; candidates from within the organization could include bench coach Rob Thomson, Triple-A Scranton manager Al Pedrique and Class A Tampa manager Jay Bell. Possibilities from outside the organization include former Kansas City manager Trey Hillman, a one-time Yankees special assistant who managed in South Korea this year; Mets hitting coach Kevin Long, who held the same role with the Yankees from 2007-14; and former Philadelphia manager Pete Mackanin, who was a pro scout for the Yankees in 2008 and 2013.

The 53-year-old Girardi led a young squad on a surprising run to an AL wild-card berth this year with a 91-71 record, the team's best since 2012. New York beat Minnesota in the wild-card game, then fell behind Cleveland 2-0 in the Division Series. Girardi admitted he made a mistake not asking for a video review of a hit-by-pitch call in Game 2 that led to an Indians rally.

"I screwed up. And it's hard. It's a hard day for me," he said then. "But I got to move forward and we'll be ready to go tomorrow."

New York won the next three games to advance, lost the first two games of the ALCS at Houston, then won three in a row to move within a victory of reaching the World Series for the first time in eight years. But the Astros swept the final two games.

Girardi's statement thanked people from Steinbrenner and Cashman down to the player development and scouting staff, traveling secretary and even the clubhouse attendants. He had sounded unusually nostalgic when discussing the atmosphere at Yankee Stadium during the playoffs.

"It's been wonderful to watch," he said last week before what turned out to be his final home game. "I peaked at left field and I see the fans jumping up and down. And I peak and watch them hitting the pads. In right field, they're jumping up and down. And it's brought back a lot of good memories for me, but I just love it. And it's fun to be a part of."

Phillies add 4 pitching prospects to 40-man roster

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Phillies add 4 pitching prospects to 40-man roster

The Phillies added four promising pitching prospects to their 40-man roster on Monday. In a corresponding move, they subtracted a notable name.

Right-handers Franklyn Kilome, Seranthony Dominguez and Jose Taveras and lefty Ranger Suarez were all added to the roster, protecting them from being selected by another club in next month's Rule 5 draft.

The Phillies also added an infielder, Engelb Vielma, to the roster. He was claimed off waivers from the San Francisco Giants.

To make room for these additions, the team needed to clear three spots on its roster, which had been at 38. Left-handed pitcher Elniery Garcia cleared waivers and was sent outright to the minor leagues while right-handers Alberto Tirado and Mark Appel were designated for assignment. The Phillies will try to trade Tirado and Appel before placing them on waivers. If they clear waivers, they could stay in the system.

The Phillies cut Appel loose after he'd struggled with injury and ineffectiveness during two seasons in the organization. The 26-year-old right-hander from Stanford University had twice been a first-round draft pick, by Pittsburgh in 2012 and by Houston — No. 1 overall — in 2013. The Phillies acquired him from the Astros as part of the package for Ken Giles in December 2015, but he never lived up to his huge potential.

"A lot of the tools that Mark showed as an amateur that led to him being the No. 1 overall pick are still there," Phillies general manager Matt Klentak said. "He has simply struggled with performance. It's certainly not for lack of effort on his part. We think the world of the kid and wish him well. It was a tough decision."

Tirado, 22, was acquired from Toronto in July 2015 as part of the return for Ben Revere. He arrived with a fastball that could reach triple digits on the radar gun and that promise earned him a spot on the 40-man a year ago. Tirado suffered a shoulder injury early last season and struggled in the minors.

All four of the pitchers that the Phillies protected are products of the team's international scouting department. Taveras, 24, was a standout at three levels in the minors last season and could be in the picture in Philadelphia in 2018. He led the system in strikeouts in 2016 and 2017.

"He knows how to get guys out and often times that comes via the strikeout," Klentak said. "No matter where he pitches, he rises to the occasion and puts up a strong performance."

Kilome, 22, and Dominguez, 22, are both power arms who project to see significant time at Double A in 2018. Suarez, 22, should also get to Double A at some point in 2018. He had a 2.27 ERA in 22 starts at two levels of Single A ball in 2017.

"He may have been the breakout pitcher of the year for the Phillies," Klentak said. "We'd always heard a lot about him and this year he took his performance to another level.

"We're really excited for all four of these guys. All have worked extremely hard and they are all deserving of being added to our roster. Our international scouting operation, Sal Agostinelli and his group, continues to crank out players. They've done a great job. These four pitchers have earned this through their work ethic and performance. By no means is this the ultimate goal for them, but it's one step closer. We believe really strongly in the futures of these four pitchers."

Vielma, 23, is a top defensive shortstop who can also play second and third base. He was waived by Minnesota in September and claimed by the Giants, who let him go in a roster crunch.

"He's an intriguing claim," Klentak said. "He adds depth to our infield."

The Phillies’ roster is at 40. The team will have to clear space if it wants to add a player in next month's Rule 5 draft. Last November, the Phils added 11 players to the 40-man roster and still lost lefty reliever Hoby Milner to Cleveland. Milner failed to make the Indians' opening-day roster, returned to the organization in March and ended up making 37 appearances for the big club after coming up in late June. He was one of 12 rookies to make their big-league debut with the Phillies in 2017.

Notable players who were not protected include outfielders Carlos Tocci and Andrew Pullin and pitcher Brandon Leibrandt.

"One of the byproducts of a strong system is every year there are some tough omissions," Klentak said. "There are always tough calls. But we look at that as a good problem to have."

New details emerge in investigation into Roy Halladay's death

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New details emerge in investigation into Roy Halladay's death

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Retired star pitcher Roy Halladay sped his small sports plane low over the Gulf of Mexico minutes before his fatal crash two weeks ago, climbing sharply in the final seconds before diving into the water, federal investigators said in a preliminary report released Monday.

National Transportation Safety Board investigator Noreen Price placed no blame for the Nov. 7 accident near Tampa, simply laying out the facts as gleaned from the plane's data recorder and eyewitnesses. A final report with conclusions could take one to two years.

Price says Halladay, 40, had taken off from a lake near his Tampa-area home about 17 minutes before the crash, taking his ICON A5 to 1,900 feet (580 meters) before dropping to 600 feet (180 meters) as he neared the coastline. He then dropped to 36 feet (11 meters) when he reached the water. While flying at about 105 mph (170 kph), Halladay skimmed the water at 11 feet (3.3 meters), flying in a circle before climbing to 100 feet (30 meters), the plane's data showed.

A witness told investigators the plane climbed to between 300 and 500 feet (95 to 150 meters) when it turned and went into a 45-degree dive. It slammed into the water and flipped.

Halladay's body was found with the plane, which was severely damaged. The plane itself was equipped with a parachute, but it was not deployed.

The former Toronto Blue Jays and Philadelphia Phillies star had received the plane from ICON on Oct. 10, and was one of the first to receive the model. In one of many enthusiastic tweets about the plane, Halladay said it felt "like flying a fighter jet." He had about 700 hours of flight time after getting his license in 2013, the report says. He had 51 hours in ICON A5s, including 14 in the plane that crashed.

Rolled out in 2014, the A5 is an amphibious aircraft meant to be treated like an ATV, a piece of weekend recreational gear with folding wings that can easily be towed on a trailer to a lake where it can take off from the water.

The man who led the plane's design, 55-year-old John Murray Karkow, died while flying an A5 over California's Lake Berryessa on May 8, a crash the NTSB attributed to pilot error.

Another A5 crashed in April, making a hard landing in the water off Key Largo, Florida, injuring the pilot and his passenger. The pilot told investigators the plane descended faster than he expected.

Halladay, an eight-time All-Star, pitched a perfect game and a playoff no-hitter in 2010. He played for the Blue Jays from 1998 to 2009 and for the Phillies from 2009-13, going 203-105 with a 3.38 ERA.