Red Sox place Will Middlebrooks on the disabled list

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Red Sox third baseman Will Middlebrooks is headed to the disabled list with a fractured finger suffered last Saturday when he was hit by a pitch.

Middlebrooks actually played through the injury all week after sitting out Sunday, going 2-for-14 (.143) with six strikeouts. Brock Holt and Jonathan Herrera are the prime options to fill in at third base, but neither has much upside.

Middlebrooks was previously on the disabled list in April with a calf injury and has hit just .197 with two homers and a .629 OPS in 21 games when healthy enough to be in the lineup. Dating back to last season he’s hit just .222 with a .685 OPS and ghastly 121/27 K/BB ratio in 115 games, falling apart after a strong rookie season in which he hit .288 with 15 homers and an .835 OPS in 75 games.

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.