Munenori Kawasaki and his .288 career slugging percentage are batting fifth for the Blue Jays

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There are a lot of ways in which I could describe how bad the Blue Jays’ lineup is for tonight’s game, but here’s the easiest one: Munenori Kawasaki, a light-hitting utility infielder with one home run and a .288 slugging percentage in 234 career games, is batting fifth.

Toronto’s lineup starts out really well: Jose Reyes, Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion, Adam Lind. That’s a helluva first four hitters.

Then comes Kawasaki batting fifth, followed by Dalton Pompey, Anthony Gose, Josh Thole, Ryan Goins.

Oh, and here’s the kicker: They’re facing Felix Hernandez. Good luck, boys!

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.