Brian Roberts headed to Baltimore for tests

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Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts has been plagued by a back injury for the last few weeks and his lack of progress has been frustrating for all parties involved.  So the O’s made a move Sunday, sending the 32-year-old back to Baltimore for an epidural and further examination of his ailing back.  Roberts is likely to begin the year on the 15-day disabled list and we can’t say for sure when he’ll be healthy enough for full-time action.  The nine-year vet hit .283/.356/.451 with 16 homers and 30 stolen bases in 632 at-bats last season.

Pirates hire Ben Cherington as their new general manager

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The Pittsburgh Pirates have hired Ben Cherington as the team’s new general manager. They do so after the general manager meetings ended, but better late than never.

Cherington served as GM of the Boston Red Sox for four years, winning the World Series in 2013, but resigned during the 2015 season after Dave Dombrowski was named Boston’s new president of baseball operations. Which was a defacto demotionn for Cherington who, until then, had the final say in baseball decisions. Dombrowski, of course, was fired late in the season this year. Cherington went on to work for the Toronto Blue Jays as a vice president, but was seen as biding his time for another GM position. Now he has one.

Cherington takes over in Pittsburgh for executive vice president and general manager Neal Huntington, who was fired after a 12 years at the helm. Also fired was team president Frank Coonelly. Travis Williams replaced Coonelly recently. While the Pirates experienced a few years of contention under Huntington and Coonelly, they have slid out of contention in recent years as the club has traded away promising players for little return, all while cutting payroll. There’s a very big rebuilding job ahead of Cherington.

The first move he’ll have to make: hire a manager, as the team still hasn’t replaced Clint Hurdle since he was dismissed in the final weekend of the regular season.