The Chicago Cubs fired manager Dale Sveum on Monday after finishing last in the NL Central for the first time in seven years, ending a two-year run that produced more losses than any other in the team's cursed history.
Cubs President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein said Sveum was not the "scapegoat" for the team's struggles.
"Today's decision to pursue a new manager was not made because of wins and losses," Epstein said. "Our record is a function of our long-term building plan and the moves we have made some good, a few we would like back to further this strategy."
Sveum's dismissal likely will ramp up speculation surrounding the status of Yankees manager Joe Girardi, a Peoria, Ill., native who played college ball at nearby Northwestern. Epstein said he expected to complete the search process by early November.
The Cubs went 61-101 in Sveum's first season, and things weren't much better this year. The Cubs dropped 41 of their final 59 games, including six of their final seven. They finished 66-96 and Sveum went 127-197 in his two seasons at the helm. He had one year left on a three-year deal signed before the 2012 season.
Around the horn
Twins • Minnesota and Ron Gardenhire agreed to a new two-year extension, keeping the manager in the Twin Cities through the 2015 season. Gardenhire has a career record of 998-947 (.513) as a major league manager, and trails only Tom Kelly on the Twins' all-time win list (1,140).
Yankees • The grievance to overturn Alex Rodriguez's 211-game suspension began Monday before arbitrator Fredric Horowitz in New York.
Doping • Florida prosecutors have launched an investigation into the now-closed Biogenesis of America clinic at the center of Major League Baseball's latest substance abuse controversy.