Andrew McCutchen expects to play today

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Andrew McCutchen suffered an avulsion fracture in his left rib cage and missed two weeks. He came back and hit three home runs in six games after being activated, but he aggravated the injury on a catch against the outfield wall in the third inning Tuesday against the Cardinals. Losing the reigning MVP for long while the Bucs are in the wild card race would be disastrous. But it appears as though disaster is being averted:

McCutchen said he expects to play Wednesday when the Pirates and Cardinals wrap up their three-game series at PNC Park.

McCutchen is hitting .307/.403/.539 on the year and is playing his usual stellar brand of defense. If he can stay healthy and the Pirates make the playoffs, he’s likely a back-to-back MVP. If he goes down and the Pirates don’t, well, it sorta tells you why he’s the current MVP.

Astros assistant GM Mike Elias reported to be next Orioles general manager

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Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports that Astros assistant GM Mike Elias will be the new general manager of the Orioles “barring a change of heart.”

Elias, 35, has been the Astros’ assistant general manager since August 2016. He had previously served as Houston’s scouting director and, before that, as a scout for the Cardinals. He was part of the team that came over from the Cardinals when Jeff Luhnow joined the Astros.

If he does take the O’s job his work will certainly be cut out for him. Baltimore was historically bad in 2018, finishing 47-115 thanks to a roster full of expensive, past-their-prime players and an underdeveloped farm system. He’ll have to hit the ground running too, as he’ll not join the team until nearly two months into the club’s offseason, having had no time to assess its needs and personnel. Oh, and the Winter Meetings begin in a little over three weeks.