Ryan Braun left the Brewers yesterday to be present for the birth of his first child and he will miss his second straight game tonight as his team begins an important four-game series against the first-place Cardinals. However, the Brewers announced late this afternoon that is well with the baby and Braun is expected to return tomorrow. Good news.
Braun, 30, is batting .275/.327/.480 with 18 home runs and 77 RBI over 114 games this year. Much like the Brewers, he has faded as the season has gone along, putting up a meager .208 batting average, four homers, and a .613 OPS over his last 32 games. He has been playing through a nerve problem in his right hand for almost the entire season, so a couple of days off could be beneficial for him.
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.