Tony La Russa joins the Red Sox as a special assistant

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The Boston Red Sox have hired Tony La Russa as a special assistant to General Manager Dave Dombrowski.

Dombrowski and La Russa go back 40 years, back when each of them were young men breaking into the executive world and managing world, respectively, in the White Sox organization. As such, it’s possible to view this as more of an advisor job as opposed to something that will involve La Russa in the day-to-day baseball operations decisions of the club. As we saw in Arizona this past year after he was stripped of most baseball operations authority, La Russa has shown that he can function in a lesser role than that to which he had become accustomed.

All of which is to say that the jokes and groans from Red Sox fans that came out after this news circulated last night are probably misplaced. Nothing he did in Arizona suggested that he should be running a team again, but in this instance I suspect Dombrowski merely gave his old friend, who had just left his last job, a place to land. If he can impart some of his considerable baseball insight to Alex Cora and others in the organization, all the better.

Houston’s Yordan Alvarez leaves game with ankle discomfort

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HOUSTON — Houston slugger Yordan Alvarez left the Astros’ game against the Arizona Diamondbacks in the fifth inning with left ankle discomfort.

Alvarez, who is tied for second in the American League with 37 home runs, rolled his ankle running out of the box on a single in the first inning.

He looked to be in some pain as he jogged to first base and was checked on briefly by manager Dusty Baker and a trainer before remaining in the game. Serving as the designated hitter, he struck out in the third inning before being replaced by pinch-hitter David Hensley for his at-bat in the fifth.