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CHICAGO (AP) — The Chicago Cubs expect to make changes after an early playoff exit. Just not in the manager’s office.Joe Maddon will return as skipper for a fifth season http://www.metsfanproshop.com/authentic-jose-reyes-jersey , president of baseball operations Theo Epstein said Wednesday.“He’s the manager of this team and I’m very happy about that,” Epstein said.Maddon has one year left on his contract. Though there are no ongoing discussions about an extension, Epstein insisted they have a “terrific” working relationship.“We don’t agree all the time about baseball issues, and that’s the way it should be,” Epstein said. “I don’t want a yes man as the manager.”Maddon has a 387-261-1 record with playoff appearances in each of his four seasons in Chicago. The Cubs have more wins during that span than any other team, with three trips to the NLCS and a World Series championship in 2016 that ended a drought dating to 1908.Chicago finished 95-68 this season, blowing a five-game lead over Milwaukee in the NL Central before losing a tiebreaker to the Brewers for the division title at Wrigley Field. Chicago was eliminated by Colorado with a 2-1, 13-inning defeat in the NL wild-card game at home Tuesday.While Maddon appears to be staying on, shortstop Addison Russell might have played his final game for the Cubs.Russell accepted a 40-game suspension Wednesday for violating Major League Baseball’s domestic violence policy after a series of allegations made by his ex-wife. Epstein said he wasn’t sure what the odds were of Russell playing another game for Chicago.As for Maddon, there were some hints during the regular season that he and management might not be on the same page, fueling speculation that he might be on the way out if the Cubs don’t make a deep playoff run. Epstein suggested last month that using closer Brandon Morrow in a third straight game June 2 might have led to the bone bruise in his right elbow that ultimately ended his season, and Maddon initially did not read the blog post by Russell’s ex-wife accusing the shortstop of domestic violence.Epstein said the two have not yet discussed a contract extension, meaning there’s a chance Maddon goes into next season with an expiring deal.“It’s becoming more common in the game,” Epstein said. “I think you’ve seen it in other places and it hasn’t always led to a big distraction. … The big picture is we haven’t made any determination on that yet.”He also said he hasn’t gotten any indications that Maddon might be interested in managing a different team with a vacancy. Mike Scioscia stepped down after 19 seasons as manager of the Los Angeles Angels, and Maddon was his bench coach on the 2002 championship team.“When we get together and communicate, we’ll discuss anything and everything,” Epstein said.One big topic figures to be how the Cubs move forward after a difficult and frustrating season. While most teams would consider 95 wins and a franchise-record fourth straight playoff appearance a rousing success Wilmer Flores Jersey , it doesn’t quite feel that way for a franchise that for decades was defined by heartache and losing.“I think it’s important for us to be proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish,” Kris Bryant said.The Cubs managed just two runs over 22 innings in losing the tiebreaker and wild-card games, a weak finish for a team that struggled at the plate for a big chunk of the season. Though Javier Baez emerged as an MVP candidate, too many players did not perform the way they expected. Injuries hit the team hard, too.The offense, Epstein said, “broke somewhere along the lines.” Chicago finished fourth in the National League in runs but was held to one or zero in 39 regular-season games. More than anything, the Cubs didn’t have the must-win approach to each game they showed two years ago on the way to the championship.“You learn from losing,” Jon Lester said. “Obviously, that’s not what anybody wants to hear, but I feel like this will be good for us moving forward.”Epstein echoed that, adding he doesn’t see a “fatal flaw” in the clubhouse.He wouldn’t say if there will be coaching changes. But he did say the Cubs need to fix the offense.Having a healthy Bryant would help. The 2016 NL MVP set career lows in games played (102), batting average (.272), home runs (13) and RBIs (52) while making two trips to the disabled list because of inflammation of his left shoulder. Epstein does not think he will need surgery.Epstein also said he “absolutely” wants Cole Hamels back. The Cubs hold a $20 million option on the four-time All-Star who gave the rotation a huge boost following a trade from Texas in late July. KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Salvador Perez got the big hit, though Adalberto Mondesi may have made the biggest plays.Before Alex Gordon’s walk and Perez’s game-winning single in the 10th inning, the fourth walk-off RBI of his career and second in two weeks http://www.metsfanproshop.com/authentic-neil-walker-jersey , it was Mondesi’s two-out walk and two steals that set the stage for the Kansas City Royals‘ 2-1 victory over the Cleveland Indians on Thursday night.“His aggressiveness was great, but also his patience was fantastic in that last at-bat,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “You kept thinking, ‘OK, if you get on, the chances of us winning this game are going to be great, even with two outs,’ because you know — boom — he’s going to put himself in scoring position and we’re just a hit away.”Neil Ramirez (0-3), who retired the first two hitters in the 10th, tried to get Mondesi to chase a full-count slider down and in.Mondesi laid off the pitch, then reached 30 steals in 72 games played this season after swiping second and third.A year ago, Mondesi probably hacks away and the teams may still be playing.“It just shows you his growth and how far he’s come, because last year that was an automatic swing 3-2 for a strikeout,” Yost said. “He’s made tremendous strides there.”Mondesi also hit his 13th home run for the Royals (57-102) — no longer in danger of matching the franchise record of 106 losses, set in 2005 — and made a game-saving defensive play in the eighth inning.The Indians had runners at second and third with two outs when Yandy Diaz chopped a slow roller between third baseman Hunter Dozier and Mondesi, who made a quick scoop and an off-balance throw to get a diving Diaz.“We practice on that every day,” Mondesi said of throwing across his body Adrian Gonzalez Jersey , “so when it comes in the game it’s a lot easier for us.”Yost was more effusive about the play.“That is a play in that situation that very few shortstops are going to make, because it does require such athleticism, such range and such arm strength to be able to complete that play,” Yost said.Jason Hammel (4-14) worked a scoreless 10th, one of five relievers the Royals used in five scoreless innings from the bullpen.The AL Central champion Indians (89-70), who are locked into an AL Divisional Series matchup beginning next week with the reigning world champion Houston Astros, got their only run in the first.Francisco Lindor led off with a single, took second on a botched pickoff attempt and went to third on a balk by Royals starter Glenn Sparkman. Lindor scored on Jose Ramirez’s one-out sacrifice fly.Josh Tomlin pitched well for the Indians in his final audition for a postseason roster spot. He went 4 2/3 innings, allowing Mondesi’s only homer in the third with five strikeouts and no walks.“I’ve finally gotten to the point where I know what my body’s going to do,” Tomlin said. “I’m not trying to force the issue. I’m just out there throwing, playing catch. It seems like I’m just playing catch.”Tomlin, who has a 6.14 ERA this season, remains a longshot for the ALDS roster, but manager Terry Francona was encouraged by what he saw.“One cutter for the solo homer, kind of came across the plate, but other than that he spun the ball good,” Francona said. “I thought his cutter was as crisp as we’ve seen. He got some kind of funky swings with it and stayed off the barrel.”HITS LEADERThe Royals’ Whit Merrifield had two hits and moved into the major league lead with 188 Jose Bautista Jersey , one ahead of Atlanta’s Freddie Freeman. Merrifield has 53 multi-hit games on the season.HISTORIC THIEVERYGreg Allen has 21 steals after swiping second and third in the 10th inning. That gives the Indians four players — Jose Ramirez (34), Francisco Lindor (23), Rajai Davis (21) and Allen (21) — with at least 20 steals in a season for the first time since 1911, when the franchise was still called the Naps. “It’s something that we believe in and can help us make a difference,” Francona said. “That’s sometimes something that gets overlooked, and we certainly don’t want to.”TRAINER’S ROOMRoyals: The Royals are healthy except for four players on the long-term disabled list — 3B Cheslor Cuthbert (strained lower back), OF Jorge Soler (fractured toe), RHP Jesse Hahn (elbow surgery) and RHP Nate Karns (elbow inflammation). LHP Danny Duffy (shoulder inflammation) also has been shut down for the season.Indians: INF Erik Gonzalez entered the concussion protocol after getting hit in the head by a pitch against the White Sox on Wednesday. Francona said Gonzalez experienced some nausea after getting beaned, but “is doing much, much better.” Gonzalez traveled with the team but there is no timetable for his return. … 1B Yonder Alonso got the day off. … Francona said OF Michael Brantley, who left Tuesday’s game after fouling a pitch off his right calf and then returned to the lineup Wednesday, sat for his regular day off and has no lingering effects.UP NEXTIndians RHP Mike Clevinger (12-8, 3.07 ERA) will make his final start of the regular season opposite Royals RHP Ian Kennedy (3-8, 4.59) as Francona gets his rotation set for the playoffs.