Dustin Pedroia returns from disabled list

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After 15 days off due to a thumb injury, Dustin Pedroia was activated from the disabled list Thursday and will be back in the lineup for the final game of the series against the White Sox.

Mauro Gomez was sent down to make room, as the Red Sox opted to keep both Pedro Ciriaco and Nick Punto as utilitymen.

Ciriaco was terrific while filling in for Pedroia, hitting .400 with six RBI and three steals in nine games. It will be interesting to see if the Red Sox start giving him some time over Mike Aviles at shortstop. He is the better defender of the two, and while he can’t match Aviles’ power, it’s as though Aviles has been a real asset with his .286 on-base percentage this season.

Update: Boston has Pedroia hitting third behind Carl Crawford tonight, with Adrian Gonzalez in the cleanup spot. Ciriaco is DHing and batting ninth.

Astros officially announce the Michael Brantley signing

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The Astros officially announced their signing of outfielder Michael Brantley to a two-year, $32 million deal.

Brantley, 31, played a mostly full season last year for the first time since 2015. He hit .309/.364/.468 with 17 home runs, 76 RBI, 89 runs scored, and 12 stolen bases in 631 plate appearances. He made the AL All-Star squad for the third time in his career.

As previously reported, the Astros plan to rotate Brantley between left field, first base, and DH.

Merry Christmas, Mr. Brantley.