Mike Napoli undergoes surgery for sleep apnea

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From CSNNewEngland.com comes word that Red Sox first baseman Mike Napoli underwent a procedure Tuesday at Massachussetts General Hospital designed to correct his sleep apnea.

The procedure, called a bimaxillary advancement, involves moving the upper and lower jaw forward to enlarge the airway in both the tongue and palate.

It should help Napoli’s breathing, especially during sleep, and the hope is that better rest will yield better on-field performance and improved overall health.

Napoli appeared in only 119 games in 2014 for the last-place Red Sox, batting .248 with a .789 OPS, 17 home runs, 20 doubles, and 55 RB in 119 games. He hit .259 with an .842 OPS, 23 home runs, 38 doubles, and 92 RBI across 139 games in 2013.

The 33-year-old is entering the final season of a two-year, $32 million contract.

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.