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Cubs catcher Montero activated from disabled list

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CHICAGO (AP) Miguel Montero was activated from the 15-day disabled list on Saturday, putting three catchers on the roster for the Chicago Cubs.

Montero had been sidelined by lower back tightness. He went 2 for 10 with two RBIs over three games in a rehab assignment with Triple-A Iowa.

“I feel good, surprisingly,” Montero said. “First day coming in, I was a little skeptical a little bit about blocking and all this, but I got to block a lot of balls. So all the issues that I have going in my mind, not in my body because I was feeling good, obviously felt pretty good blocking and that was kind of a turning point.”

Montero, 32, was in the starting lineup for Saturday’s game against Pittsburgh, batting eighth.

To make room on the roster, outfielder Ryan Kalish was designated for assignment. Kalish was promoted from Iowa on May 3 and batted .286 (2 for 7) in seven games with the Cubs.

The move with Kalish leaves catcher Tim Federowicz in place after he was promoted when Montero went on the DL. The major league-leading Cubs also have veteran catcher David Ross, who hit a three-run homer in Friday’s 9-4 victory over the Pirates.

“It gives us more freedom to do things in the latter part of the game,” manager Joe Maddon said, “where you know if you’ve seen us pull catchers early for different maneuvers and then when you’re going with just one guy, it gets to extra innings it’s never comfortable. It’s never comfortable.”

Maddon also said Federowicz’s solid play was a factor in how they handled the situation.

The roster makeup could change again when outfielder Matt Szczur comes off the disabled list. He is out with a mild right hamstring strain and is eligible to return on Wednesday.

“He is doing really well,” Maddon said. “Bussy (strength and conditioning coordinator Tim Buss) likes his progress. He’s moving well.”

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.