Jose Altuve could return to Astros’ lineup Tuesday

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Astros second baseman Jose Altuve hasn’t played since Friday due to a strained right hamstring, but Brian McTaggart of MLB.com reports that he’s available for tonight’s game against the Rockies and could return to the starting lineup tomorrow afternoon.

Altuve exited Friday’s game against the Mariners after he tweaked his hamstring trying to run out a ground ball in his second at-bat of the first inning against Felix Hernandez. He downplayed the severity of the issue, so a stint on the disabled list wasn’t deemed necessary, but the Astros are trying to play things safe in order to avoid a setback.

After his monster 2014, the 25-year-old Altuve is batting .290/.330/.395 with five home runs, 27 RBI, and 17 steals through 61 games this season.

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.