The Cardinals’ players are now “on notice” after the team fired manager Mike Matheny on Saturday, Mark Saxon of The Athletic tweets. If the Cardinals (47-46) don’t turn things around during the coming weeks under interim manager Mike Shildt, there may be “sweeping changes” to their roster, per Saxon. St. Louis’ front office, for its part, “has pined for years to be a seller and stock up for the future,” Saxon writes. With the All-Star break on the doorstep and the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline soon to follow, the Cardinals won’t have a lot of time to reverse course on the field in the next couple weeks, though they’re only four games out of a wild-card spot.
- Since Matheny’s ouster, former Yankees and Marlins skipper Joe Girardi has come up frequently as a speculative fit for St. Louis. The Cardinals will indeed consider Girardi, who already has a “good rapport” with president John Mozeliak and is thought of highly by the organization, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. It’s unknown whether Girardi will want to get back into managing after a long, successful run in New York, however. Girardi was unwilling to comment on St. Louis’ managerial situation when Joel Sherman of the New York Post contacted him.
- Cubs right-hander Yu Darvish, out since late May with triceps tendinitis, told Carrie Muskat of MLB.com and other reporters Saturday that he’s hopeful he’ll be able resume throwing off a mound next weekend. However, there’s still no timetable for Darvish’s return to the Cubs’ rotation. With Darvish unavailable (and having struggled before his injury) and Tyler Chatwood in the throes of a rough year, the Cubs are looking for pitching as July 31 nears, according to general manager Jed Hoyer. “No matter what happens [with Darvish], we’re going to be trying to acquire pitching and try to acquire depth,” Hoyer said. “That’s our focus no matter what.”
- Head injuries have been an all-too-common occurrence for Pirates catcher Francisco Cervelli, whom concussion issues forced to the disabled list on Saturday for the fourth time since last June. It doesn’t appear his playing days are in peril right now, though. Asked Saturday if Cervelli’s career could be in jeopardy, Pirates director of sports medicine Tom Tomczyk said (via Rob Biertempfel of The Athletic): “A good question. We have the head of neurology (at Allegheny Health System) leading the direction and advising our internal team of doctors … and that recommendation hasn’t been relayed to him as of yet.” One way the Pirates could make Cervelli’s life easier is by giving him some playing time elsewhere on the field, and they are considering using him at first base on occasion, Elizabeth Bloom of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette relays.
- The Brewers announced that they’ve placed second baseman Jonathan Villar on the 10-day DL with a right thumb injury and recalled outfielder Brett Phillips from Triple-A. It’s not known how much time Villar will miss, but it’s the latest disappointing development for a player who has experienced a marked drop-off since a great 2016. Villar has bounced back since a disastrous 2017 to some extent, though he has still batted a subpar .261/.315/.377 with six home runs and 14 steals in 279 plate appearances. The 27-year-old has been a key part of a generally weak middle infield, an area Milwaukee may bolster with a trade for Orioles shortstop Manny Machado. [UPDATE: An MRI revealed that Villar had just a sprained thumb and no structural damage, Brewers manager Craig Counsell told Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and other reporters.]