George Springer, out since July 2 with fractured right wrist, expected to take BP on Monday

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George Springer is finally beginning to make legit progress in his recovery from a fractured right wrist.

Astros manager A.J. Hinch told Jose de Jesus Ortiz of the Houston Chronicle on Sunday afternoon that the 25-year-old outfielder is lined up to take batting practice ahead of the Astros’ series opener against the Yankees on Monday evening in New York.

“It’s very encouraging,” said Hinch. “That’s when it starts to feel real that he’s becoming more and more of an active player, when his normal routine is like any other player on our team. … I’m thrilled with the progress that he’s made.”

Springer has been on the disabled list since July 2, a day after he took an Edinson Volquez pitch off his right arm. He was sporting an .822 OPS, 13 homers, and 14 steals in 75 games before the injury.

Springer should be ready to rejoin the AL West-leading Astros in early September.

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.