Cody Ross still sidelined with strained left calf muscle, questionable for Opening Day

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Diamondbacks outfielder Cody Ross was removed from a Cactus League game on March 3 against the Giants with discomfort in his lower left leg. It’s been two weeks and his return to action is not close.

According to MLB.com’s Steve Gilbert, Ross — who was officially diagnosed with a left calf strain — has barely even attempted to jog at a normal pace on the leg. “It’s just been slow,” manager Kirk Gibson told reporters on Saturday. “He’s done really no full weight-bearing stuff running-wise. He’s not ready for it. I think he went in the pool yesterday. I think the next step will be the Ultra G [treadmill], which they can unload some of the weight when he runs.”

It’s very possible that the 32-year-old will open the 2013 regular season on the 15-day disabled list.

Ross signed a three-year, $26 million contract with the Snakes this winter after batting .267/.326/.481 with 22 home runs and 81 RBI in 130 games last season with the Red Sox. He’ll start in right field once he’s healthy.

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.