Indians keeping Danny Salazar in starting rotation, moving Zach McAllister to bullpen

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It was announced on Thursday that the Indians were calling up right-hander Danny Salazar for a spot start on Saturday against the Twins, but the plan now calls for him to remain in the rotation while Zach McAllister will move to the bullpen.

Salazar was expected to land a rotation spot out of spring training after Gavin Floyd went down with another elbow injury, but he struggled during Cactus League action and was optioned to Triple-A Columbus. However, after striking out seven and walking none over six scoreless innings in his lone start in the minors, the Indians are ready to give him another shot.

Indians pitching coach Mickey Callaway told Jordan Bastian of MLB.com that they received positive reports about Salazar’s slider from his Triple-A start, which he feels could be the key to a breakout:

“If he can do that,” Callaway said, “throw the ball over the plate with some command, and throw that secondary pitch for a strike to set up that changeup, he’s going to be good to go.”

Salazar was great down the stretch as a rookie in 2013, but he had mixed results last year while posting a 4.25 ERA over 20 starts. Still, he has averaged 10.3 K/9 and 2.8 BB/9 in the majors and has obvious frontline starter potential. Can’t blame the Indians for going with upside.

McAllister was knocked around for five runs over four innings in his lone start last week. He was throwing in the high-90s with his fastball out of the bullpen last night (thanks, Brooks Baseball), so this could be a good change for him.

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.