After missing two straight starts due to a lingering right thumb injury, Ryan Braun is back in the Brewers’ starting lineup for tonight’s game against the Marlins.
Braun has been dealing with a nerve problem in his thumb dating back to the beginning of the season, but Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said earlier this week that it has now morphed into a full-blown hand issue. It sounds like he’ll be evaluated on a day-to-day basis moving forward. The injury has cleared impacted his production at the plate, as he’s batting just .229 with seven homers and a .676 OPS since the All-Star break.
With Braun back in the lineup tonight, the Brewers have the hot-hitting Gerardo Parra in left field while Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports that Khris Davis is getting the night off due to a minor forearm injury. The Brewers begin play tonight at 75-71, 1 1/2 games behind the Pirates for the second Wild Card spot in the National League. The Braves are also 1 1/2 games back.
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.