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Arizona fires Melvin

Bob Melvin was the 2007 N.L. Manager of the Year.  (Associated Press / The Spokesman-Review)
Bob Melvin was the 2007 N.L. Manager of the Year. (Associated Press / The Spokesman-Review)
Associated Press

The Arizona Diamondbacks fired Bob Melvin, hoping a new manager will be able to get the most out of their talented core of young players.

The Diamondbacks said they will announce Melvin’s replacement at a Chase Field news conference this afternoon.

Melvin’s firing comes after a disappointing start by the Diamondbacks, who are nine games behind the Los Angeles Dodgers in the N.L. West. Melvin, who went 337-340 in four-plus seasons, had one year left on a contract he received after being named the 2007 N.L. Manager of the Year.

Hitting coach Rick Schu also was fired, and pitching coach Bryan Price resigned.

Neel pleads guilty

Former Oakland first baseman Troy Neel pleaded guilty in San Antonio to fleeing the country to avoid more than $700,000 in unpaid child support, which stacked up while he lived on a million-dollar South Pacific island resort bought after his brief major league career.

Shackled and wearing blue inmate scrubs, Neel made his plea in federal court and faces up to two years in prison. His attorney said Neel, 43, has no money and disputed the amount owed.

A-Rod will debut

Alex Rodriguez will make his season debut for the New York Yankees tonight in Baltimore, joining a team that desperately needs some timely hitting.

Rodriguez rejoined the Yankees a few hours after the All-Star third baseman played in his final rehab game in Florida on Thursday. He went 0 for 2 with two walks and put in three innings of defense, then took some extra ground balls and batting practice.

Willis will return

Detroit Tigers left-hander Dontrelle Willis is ready to return to the major leagues.

Manager Jim Leyland said that Willis, who has been on the disabled list since March 29 because of anxiety disorder, will start Wednesday against the Minnesota Twins.

Also, right-hander Jeremy Bonderman is almost ready to begin making rehab starts.

Ankiel on DL

Rick Ankiel went on the 15-day disabled list three days after the St. Louis Cardinals center fielder crashed headfirst into the wall making a running catch.

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