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Cincinnati Reds fire manager Bryan Price after 3-15 start

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The Cincinnati Reds have fired manager Bryan Price after the team toiled through a 3-15 start in his fifth season with the club.

The Reds said in a statement Thursday morning that pitching coach Mack Jenkins has also been fired. Bench coach Jim Riggleman was named Cincinnati’s interim manager. The statement said the Reds will conduct a search for a permanent manager “later in the year.”

“At this time, we felt a change needed to happen in order to begin the process of getting this team back on the right track. We realize it is early in the season but feel it is important to be proactive,” general manager Dick Williams said. “In addition to these staff changes, we will continue to examine all aspects of baseball operations to ensure we are doing everything we can to improve.”

The move came during an off day in St. Louis, where the Reds will start a three-game series against the Cardinals on Friday. The Reds are coming off back-to-back shutout losses in Milwaukee, the first time they were blanked in consecutive games since 2015.

The Reds are nine games behind the Pittsburgh Pirates in the National League Central.

Overall, Price’s record with the Reds was 279-387. Since becoming the Reds’ manager in 2014, he never had a winning record. The Reds have lost at least 94 games and finished last in the NL Central in each of the past three seasons.

Triple-A Louisville manager Pat Kelly was named Cincinnati’s bench coach and Double-A Pensacola pitching coach Danny Darwin was added to the major league staff.

The Reds suffered significant injuries during spring training and got off to their worst start since the Depression while drawing small crowds at Great American Ball Park. Top starter Anthony DeSclafani is sidelined indefinitely with a strained oblique — after missing all of last season with an elbow injury — and left-hander Brandon Finnegan has been limited to one start by a biceps injury.

The offense also has taken significant hits. Third baseman Eugenio Suarez got a seven-year, $66 million contract during spring training — Cincinnati’s first significant deal during its rebuild — but he broke his right thumb when he was hit by a pitch April 8 and is sidelined indefinitely. Right fielder Scott Schebler also is out with a bruised elbow.

Price was given the job of leading the Reds during a massive overhaul. Cincinnati won the division twice during Dusty Baker’s six-year tenure and went to the playoffs three times but couldn’t get beyond the first round. Baker was fired after they lost the wild-card game to Pittsburgh in 2013, and Price was promoted from pitching coach.

The Reds lost 86 games in Price’s first season, and the organization decided to begin a rebuild that involved trading every star player except Joey Votto and Homer Bailey. They have brought up rookie pitchers before they were ready to fill in while DeSclafani, Finnegan and Bailey were hurt.

Thirty-two Reds players have made their major league debuts in the past three seasons, the most in the majors. In the past four seasons, they have had a rookie start 254 of 504 games. Rookies made a club-record 110 starts in 2015, when the Reds lost 98 games.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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Byron Buxton not 100% so not in Twins’ starting lineup

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Center fielder Byron Buxton is not in the Minnesota Twins‘ lineup Wednesday because “he’s not at 100%,” manager Rocco Baldelli told reporters before Game 2.

Baldelli said Buxton could be available off the bench if his condition improves. He would not elaborate more on Buxton’s condition. Buxton was hit in the helmet by a pitch on Friday and had “mild” concussion symptoms. He was cleared for Game 1 on Tuesday and played the entire game.

Max Kepler is starting in center in Game 2. Rookie Alex Kirilloff, who has yet to make his MLB debut, is starting in right field.

The Twins trail the best-of-3 wild-card series against the Houston Astros 1-0 after losing 4-1 Tuesday, their 17th straight postseason defeat.

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Former World Series MVP Pablo Sandoval on Atlanta Braves roster

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ATLANTA — Pablo Sandoval is on the Atlanta Braves‘ roster for the NL wild-card series against the Cincinnati Reds.

The 2012 World Series MVP joined the Braves after being released by the San Francisco Giants a couple of weeks ago.

He started at third base in the final game of the regular season, going 0 for 2 with two walks in a 9-1 loss to the Boston Red Sox. Sandoval played 33 games for the Giants, hitting .220 with one homer and six RBI.

The Braves also brought back infielder Charlie Culberson to the big league roster and released left-handed pitcher Tommy Milone, who was acquired at the trade deadline but posted a 14.90 ERA in three starts.

The 28-player rosters for the best-of-three series between the Reds and the Braves:

CINCINNATI

Pitchers (12): RH Tejay Antone, RH Trevor Bauer, RH Archie Bradley, RH Luis Castillo, LH Amir Garrett, RH Sonny Gray, RH Raisel Iglesias, RH Michael Lorenzen, RH Tyler Mahle, LH Wade Miley, RH Lucas Sims, RH Robert Stephenson

Catchers (2): Tucker Barnhart, Curt Casali

Infielders (7): Matt Davidson, Kyle Farmer, Freddy Galvis, Jose Garcia, Mike Moustakas, Eugenio Suarez, Joey Votto

Outfielders (7): Shogo Akiyama, Aristides Aquino, Nick Castellanos, Brian Goodwin, Travis Jankowski, Nick Senzel, Jesse Winker

ATLANTA

Pitchers (13): RH Ian Anderson, LH Grant Dayton, LH Max Fried, RH Shane Greene, RH Chris Martin, LH Tyler Matzek, RH Mark Melancon, LH A.J. Minter, RH Darren O’Day, LH Will Smith, RH Josh Tomlin, RH Jacob Webb, RH Kyle Wright

Catchers (3): William Contreras, Travis d’Arnaud, Tyler Flowers

Infielders (7): Ozzie Albies, Johan Camargo, Charlie Culberson, Freddie Freeman, Austin Riley, Pablo Sandoval, Dansby Swanson

Outfielders (5): Ronald Acuna Jr., Adam Duvall, Nick Markakis, Marcell Ozuna, Cristian Pache.

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Mike Clevinger still out; San Diego Padres concerned

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San Diego Padres right-hander Mike Clevinger is unlikely to pitch in the wild-card series and could miss the remainder of the postseason with an arm injury that did not resolve itself during a bullpen session Tuesday, sources told ESPN.

The Padres acquired Clevinger, 29, from the Cleveland Indians at the trade deadline and expected him to lead their playoff rotation. Clevinger left a Sept. 23 start after one inning, and while he has attempted to throw in the week since, concerns about his short- and long-term health persist, according to sources.

Clevinger is not the only Padres starter with health issues. The status of Dinelson Lamet, who finished the season with a 2.09 ERA and was expected to be their No. 2 starter, remains in question for their three-game opening-round series against the St. Louis Cardinals.

San Diego named Chris Paddack its Game 1 starter and in lieu of Clevinger and Lamet could turn to right-hander Zach Davies for Game 2. Right-hander Garrett Richards and left-hander Adrian Morejon also have started games for the Padres this year.

Rotation depth, while not vital in the wild-card round, will become paramount in the division series and championship series, during which there will be no off-days.

The Padres acquired Clevinger, outfielder Greg Allen and a player to be named later for a six-player package. Clevinger had fallen out of favor with the Indians after he and teammate Zach Plesac broke curfew during a trip in Chicago. Teammates accused Clevinger of lying to them and aired him out during a meeting, following which he and Plesac were demoted.

Beyond this year, the concerns about Clevinger’s arm are acute. He has two years before he reaches free agency, and the Padres spent significant prospect capital at the deadline in hopes of him anchoring the rotation over the next few years as they try to capture the franchise’s first championship.

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