Brandon Beachy is close to joining the Dodgers’ rotation

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Brandon Beachy’s comeback from a second Tommy John elbow surgery is nearly complete, with Dodgers manager Don Mattingly telling Bill Plunkett of the Orange County Register that “he’s feeling good and we’re feeling good about where he’s at.”

Beachy, who signed an incentive-laden deal with the Dodgers this offseason, has been rehabbing in the minors and could be cleared to join the rotation shortly after the All-Star break.

He hasn’t pitched in the majors since early 2013, but if healthy Beachy could make a big impact down the stretch. He had a 3.23 ERA in 268 innings for the Braves, striking out 9.2 batters per nine innings while holding opponents to a .220 batting average.

Mattingly indicated that the Dodgers may work him back into the mix slowly, which suggests long relief or mopping up could be his role initially. Los Angeles hold a team option on Beachy for 2016, so the Dodgers have reason to be somewhat cautious.

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.