David Price shines in his Blue Jays debut

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That didn’t take long. David Price and the Blue Jays beat the Twins in Price’s debut this afternoon, 5-1.

Price tossed eight innings, allowing only one run on three hits and striking out 11. Those 11 Ks are a Blue Jays debut record. His only mistake in the game was allowing a Torii Hunter solo homer in the second inning. His 118 other pitches yielded no runs.

On the offensive side, Ryan Goins and Josh Donaldson each homered for Toronto — Donaldson’s was a two-run shot which caused fans in Rogers Centre to chant “M-V-P, M-V-P!” — while Edwin Encarnacion and Justin Smoak each had RBI singles.

The Jays now stand 5.5 out of first place in the east but are now in a virtual tie with the Twins for the second wild card slot (Minnesota has a game advantage in the loss column).

The new-look Jays look pretty scary right now.

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.