Astros hire Brent Strom as pitching coach

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Last week Houston moved pitching coach Doug Brocal into a different role in the organization and now Brian McTaggart of MLB.com reports that the Astros have hired Brent Strom as their new pitching coach.

Strom was previously the Royals’ pitching coach in 2000 and 2001, but most recently he’s been a minor league pitching instructor for the Cardinals … for whom Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow previously worked. Strom is 64 years old, whereas Brocail is 46.

And here’s an interesting tidbit: Strom was the second pitcher to ever undergo ulnar collateral elbow ligament replacement surgery. Tommy John, of course, was the first.

Red Sox to activate Dustin Pedroia from disabled list on Friday

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Manager Alex Cora said that second baseman Dustin Pedroia will be activated from the disabled list on Friday, Pete Abraham of The Boston Globe reports.

Pedroia, 34, had cartilage restoration surgery on his left knee in late October. He played in only 105 games last season, batting .293/.369/.392 with seven home runs and 62 RBI in 463 plate appearances. His offensive stats were his worst since an abnormally-bad 2014 campaign.

The 34-15 Red Sox have baseball’s best record. Eduardo Nunez has mostly been handling second base in Pedroia’s place, hitting a disappointing .243/.261/.361 in 177 trips to the plate. He has also, by most metrics, played subpar defense at the position, so getting Pedroia back will be a boon.