Albert Pujols had knee surgery last week

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Albert Pujols’ 2012 season began kinda crappy and ended kinda crappy: he apparently had knee surgery last week.

Pujols hurt himself in late August. Though he didn’t miss time, he was limited to DH duties for most of September.  The surgery was of the arthorscopic clean-up variety and he is expected to be good to go well in advance of spring training.

Jim Hickey steps down as Cubs’ pitching coach

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The Cubs announced on Tuesday that Jim Hickey has stepped down as the pitching coach due to personal reasons. The club will begin a search for a replacement.

Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein said in a statement, “Jim Hickey notified us yesterday of his decision to step down as pitching coach and leave the organization for personal reasons. We thank Jim for his season with the Cubs and his positive impact on our pitchers. Jim has our full support and we all wish him well.”

Hickey, 57, spent over a decade as a coach in the Rays organization before joining the Cubs for the past season, reuniting with Joe Maddon. The Cubs’ starting staff ranked 10th among all 30 teams with a 3.84 ERA and the bullpen posted an NL-best 3.35 ERA.