Astros management apparently heard the outcry against their initial decision to hold Jose Altuve out of Sunday’s season finale — against Altuve’s wishes — in order to protect his lead for the batting title …
Here’s the statement released by the Astros about the sudden change-of-heart: “Altuve approached [interim manager Tom Lawless] prior to today’s game and was passionate about playing today. As the best player, he deserves the right to make that decision.” Altuve’s batting average is at .340. Victor Martinez is at .337.
This would be the first batting title in Astros history. Altuve already broke the franchise’s single-season hits record earlier this month, passing Craig Biggio’s previous mark of 210. Altuve has 223 hits and counting.
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.