October 25, 2019 / 2:54 AM / a month ago

MLB notebook: Astros fire assistant GM over clubhouse incident

The Houston Astros fired assistant general manager Brandon Taubman on Thursday and apologized to reporters for his behavior in the clubhouse Saturday night.

FILE PHOTO: Oct 22, 2019; Houston, TX, USA; The Houston Astros logo is seen during the third inning of game one of the 2019 World Series against the Washington Nationals at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports

According to a story Monday by Sports Illustrated’ s Stephanie Apstein, Taubman taunted three female reporters, including one who was wearing a purple bracelet for domestic violence awareness, about Astros closer Robert Osuna following their pennant-clinching win against the New York Yankees. The Astros acquired Osuna last season while he was serving a 75-game ban for allegedly assaulting a woman.

Following interviews of media members and Astros employees conducted over the past several days by the team and by Major League Baseball, the team admitted its mistake.

“Our initial investigation led us to believe that Brandon Taubman’s inappropriate comments were not directed toward any reporter. We were wrong,” the team said in a statement. “We sincerely apologize to Stephanie Apstein, Sports Illustrated and to all individuals who witnessed this incident or were offended by the inappropriate conduct. The Astros in no way intended to minimize the issues related to domestic violence.”

—Nationals left-hander Patrick Corbin, who made a relief appearance in Game 1 of the World Series, will return to his regular role as a starter in Game 4 on Saturday against the visiting Astros.

Manager Dave Martinez made the announcement on the teams’ off day. The Nationals won the first two games of the best-of-seven series in Houston. Game 3 is scheduled for Friday in Washington, the first World Series game in the nation’s capital since 1933.

Washington’s Anibal Sanchez will oppose Houston’s Zack Greinke in a showdown of right-handers in Game 3. The Astros had yet to announce their Game 4 starter.

—Philadelphia named Joe Girardi as its new manager, giving him a three-year contract with a club option for the 2023 season.

Girardi, 55, managed the Yankees for a decade from 2008-17 and steered them to a 910-710 record and a World Series championship in 2009.

—San Diego hired Texas Rangers assistant Jayce Tingler as their new manager, ESPN reported.

Tingler, who turns 39 next month, served as the Rangers’ major league player development field coordinator last season and currently manages a team in the Dominican winter league.

—The Cubs officially named David Ross as the franchise’s 55th manager, signing him to a three-year contract through 2022 with a club option for 2023.

“I’m honored by this opportunity to be the next manager of the Chicago Cubs,” said Ross, 42, who played in the majors for 15 seasons but has no managerial experience at any level. “My time with this organization has been special since the day I joined, so to continue with the club in this role is a blessing for which I’m so very thankful.”

—Joe Maddon accomplished a great deal in five seasons as manager of the Cubs.

That resume helped him land on his feet as manager of the Los Angeles Angels. At his introductory press conference, Maddon looked back and shared an element of his blue-sky wish list for the future.

“Nothing but warm fuzzies about five years in Chicago,” Maddon said. “You look at the number of wins, number of losses; three straight trips to the NLCS, which means you’re almost in three consecutive World Series; you do include one and win it.”

—Yankees center fielder Aaron Hicks will have Tommy John surgery later this month and will be sidelined eight to 10 months.

General manager Brian Cashman provided injury updates for Hicks, 30, who has a partial tear of the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. He had been sidelined since Aug. 3 before returning to the lineup during the Yankees’ six-game loss to the Astros in the American League Championship Series.

—President Donald Trump said he plans to attend Game 5 of the World Series, scheduled for Sunday night in Washington.

Of course, there is no certainty there will be a game that night with the Nationals holding a 2-0 lead over the Astros in the best-of-seven series. Houston needs to win at least one of the next two games for there to be a contest on Sunday.

Trump won’t be throwing out the ceremonial first pitch, according to the Nationals.

—It took a record-tying, eight-game postseason winning streak and “stealing” two games in Houston, but sportsbooks have finally turned the World Series betting odds in the Nationals’ favor.

The heaviest underdogs in a decade entering the 2019 World Series, the Nats closed the odds gap with their 5-4 win over Astros and ace Gerrit Cole in Game 1. But it was their late offensive explosion for a 12-3 win in Game 2 that has finally turned the tides in Washington’s favor.

Heading home for Game 3 on Friday, the Nationals are now minus-280 favorites to win the Series by FanDuel, minus-275 by DraftKings and minus-270 by PointsBet.

—Field Level Media

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