Jonny Venters undergoes second Tommy John surgery

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No official announcement has been made, but Mark Bowman of MLB.com reports that Braves setup man Jonny Venters is expected to have Tommy John elbow surgery after meeting with Dr. James Andrews.

This would be Venters’ second Tommy John surgery, with the first coming in 2005 when he was a 20-year-old at low Single-A. He’ll miss the remainder of this season and likely a big chunk of next year as well.

Venters has been overshadowed in the Braves’ bullpen by closer Craig Kimbrel, but he had an incredibly dominant stretch from 2010-2012 in which he threw 230 innings with a 2.23 ERA, .212 opponents’ batting average, and 10.1 strikeouts per nine innings. And he was ridden very, very hard by manager Fredi Gonzalez.

UPDATE: Venters had the surgery this afternoon.

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.