Edwin Encarnacion could begin a minor league rehab assignment this weekend

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Brett Lawrie is back on the disabled list once again, this time due to an oblique strain, but it’s not all bad news on the injury front for the Blue Jays.

According to Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca, Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos said this afternoon that slugger Edwin Encarnacion “may” begin a minor league rehab assignment this weekend. The 31-year-old has been sidelined since July 5 with a right quad strain and suffered a minor setback late last month, but Anthoupoulos expects him to rejoin the Blue Jays by the end of next week if all goes well. It’s even possible he could return a bit sooner. Good news.

Even though Encarnacion has missed a month, he still ranks third in the American League with 26 homers and ninth with 70 RBI. He’s batting .277/.368/.491 overall this season.

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.