Aroldis Chapman is “good to go” after shoulder problems

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Reds closer Aroldis Chapman pitched just once in the span of 12 days because of shoulder soreness, but he was on back on the mound Monday to work the ninth inning of a blowout win.

Chapman didn’t look sharp, walking two of the five batters he faced, but manager Bryan Price told Mark Sheldon of MLB.com that “he’s past that point where I think the soreness is out of there and he should be good to go.”

There was a lot of trade speculation swirling around Chapman last month, as the Reds moved multiple veterans including ace Johnny Cueto, but nothing came of the Chapman rumors. Expect the speculation to start up again this winter, because 2016 is Chapman’s final year before hitting the open market as a free agent and, assuming his shoulder is fine down the stretch, the Reds could cash him in for a big return.

Chapman has a 1.78 ERA and 90 strikeouts in 51 innings 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.