The Rockies have removed LaTroy Hawkins from the closer role

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Two meltdowns in three appearances have cost La Troy Hawkins his job as Rockies closer. From the Denver Post:

“We have decided to give ‘Hawk a break in that role,” manager Walt Weiss said before the start of the Rockies-Giants afternoon game. “We’re just trying to give him a little bit of a breather for the time being.”

Rafael Betancourt figures to get the most save chances, though Weiss said that there will be some “mix-and-match” going on in the Rockies’ pen. Adam Ottavino will likewise get chances, as will John Axford once he returns from family medical leave arising out of his son’s injuries from a snakebite.

Hawkins, 42, threw 54 innings with a 3.31 ERA and notched 23 saves last season. He has allowed five runs on seven hits in two and two-thirds innings so far in 2015.

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.