MLB suspends Martin Maldonado, Carlos Gomez, Travis Snider, and Russell Martin for Easter brawl

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MLB has handed out suspensions for the Easter afternoon brawl between the Brewers and Pirates. On the Milwaukee side Martin Maldonado gets five games and Carlos Gomez gets three games. On the Pittsburgh side Travis Snider gets two games and Russell Martin gets one game. And they were all fined.

Maldonado receives the biggest punishment–including a $2,500 fine–after punching Snider in the face, resulting in a black eye and a large cut for the Pirates outfielder. Gomez got the whole ruckus going by admiring what he thought was a home run before sprinting for a triple, while Pirates right-hander Gerrit Cole avoids a suspension presumably because MLB believes his involvement consisted of screaming at Gomez rather than, say, helping to incite the whole thing.

No word yet on which players plan to appeal the suspensions and/or fines. Martin has challenged Maldonado to an offseason fight in the name of raising money for charity, but Maldonado declined. As a backup catcher a five-game suspension really only means missing one game for Maldonado, who plays sparingly behind Brewers starter Jonathan Lucroy anyway.

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.