Twins lose Byron Buxton to thumb injury two weeks after call-up

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Byron Buxton’s rough start in the majors just got much rougher, as the Twins placed the stud center field prospect on the disabled list with a sprained left thumb suffered during a stolen base attempt Tuesday.

Buxton played through the injury Wednesday, going 0-for-4 with four strikeouts as the Twins’ leadoff man against White Sox ace Chris Sale.

To replace him on the roster the Twins called up Danny Santana, who was recently demoted to Triple-A after hitting .218 with a .525 OPS and 49/2 K/BB ratio to lose the Opening Day shortstop job.

Minnesota just released Opening Day center fielder Jordan Schafer and Aaron Hicks is on the disabled list with an elbow injury for at least a few more days, so the Twins figure to turn to Shane Robinson or shift Santana to center field where he played last season.

Buxton hit .189 with a .501 OPS and 15 strikeouts in 11 games after being called up from Double-A at age 21. Twins manager Paul Molitor told Dana Wessel of 96.3-FM in Minnesota that Buxton will probably miss “at least a month.”

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.