Padres set for another round of general manager interviews next week

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The Padres have narrowed the field as they search for a new general manager to replace Josh Byrnes, but they won’t make a decision until after a round of second interviews next week, according to Bleacher Report’s Scott Miller.

The Padres are looking at the Yankees’ Cody Eppler, the Red Sox’s Mike Hazen, former Dodgers assistant GM Kim Ng and the Rangers’ A.J. Preller, Miller reports. ESPN’s Jim Bowden pegged Hazen as the favorite.

If Hazen is hired, he’d be the third straight Padres GM with Red Sox ties. Jed Hoyer was hired directly from Boston in 2009. He was later let go to join Theo Epstein and become the Cubs GM. His replacement, Byrnes, worked alongside Hoyer in Boston up until 2005, when he was hired by the Diamondbacks. Current Padres team president Mike Dee worked for the Red Sox from 2002-09.

The Padres are also reportedly looking to bring back former GM Kevin Towers in an advisory role, according to FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal. Towers remains the Diamondbacks’ general manager at the moment, but it’s assumed that he’s being phased out following the addition of Tony La Russa to the front office.

Dodgers trade A.J. Ellis to the Phillies for Carlos Ruiz

Atlanta Braves v Los Angeles Dodgers
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MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki reports that the Dodgers have acquired catcher Carlos Ruiz and cash from the Phillies in exchange for catcher A.J. Ellis, minor league pitcher Tommy Bergjans, and a player to be named later. It was reported on Wednesday that Ruiz and first baseman Ryan Howard both cleared waivers and that Ruiz was drawing interest from a couple of teams.

Ruiz, 37, has served as the backup catcher behind Cameron Rupp. Over 193 plate appearances, he hit .261/.368/.352. He continued to play solid defense and has always had a reputation for handling his pitchers very well. In fact, in a commercial for the video game MLB 2k11, former Phillie Roy Halladay essentially professed his love for Ruiz:

Ellis, 35, is a free agent after the season while Ruiz has a club option for the 2017 season worth $4.5 million. It seems likely that the Dodgers pick up that option and make Ruiz Grandal’s backup next year. Ellis hit a lousy .194/.285/.252 in 161 plate appearances, but the Phillies aren’t particularly concerned with his production since they’re still facilitating their rebuilding process.

Bergjans, 23, has spent the season with High-A Rancho Cucamonga. He’s posted a 4.98 ERA with a 133/29 K/BB ratio in 130 innings spanning 21 starts and three relief appearances. He went to school in Haverford, PA so the Phillies are bringing in a local guy.

Jose Bautista returns from the disabled list

TORONTO, CANADA - MAY 29: Jose Bautista #19 of the Toronto Blue Jayshits a two-run home run in the fifth inning during MLB game action against the Boston Red Sox on May 29, 2016 at Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images
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Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista has been activated from the 15-day disabled list ahead of Thursday night’s game against the Angels, the club announced. Utilityman Ryan Goins has been optioned to Triple-A Buffalo to create room on the roster.

Bautista missed the minimum 15 days due to a sprained left knee. He’s battled injuries throughout the season, limiting him to just 355 plate appearances over 80 games. He’ll resume play with a .222/.349/.444 triple-slash line, 15 home runs, and 48 RBI.

Bautista is in Thursday night’s starting lineup, batting first and serving as the DH.