Getty Images

Luiz Gohara bumped from Braves’ rotation battle with ankle injury

2 Comments

Left-handed pitching prospect Luiz Gohara may no longer be competing for a spot in the Braves’ Opening Day rotation, according to Mark Bowman of MLB.com. The southpaw was scheduled to pitch his first Grapefruit League start on Sunday, but will be forced to sit out after spraining his left ankle during pitchers’ drills on Friday afternoon. It’s still unclear how severely the injury will impact his upcoming season with the club, though David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution adds that the team is expected to reevaluate his progress in two weeks.

This is the second injury Gohara has suffered this spring after working his way back from a groin strain several weeks ago. The 21-year-old was poised to enter his sophomore season with the club following his major league debut last year, when he pitched to a 1-3 record in five starts with a 4.91 ERA, 2.5 BB/9 and 9.5 SO/9 over 29 1/3 innings. He was ranked no. 4 in the Braves’ system by MLB Pipeline last month and currently grades as the team’s top left-handed prospect.

Without Gohara, Bowman notes, the competition for the final two spots in the Braves’ starting rotation has opened back up. Southpaw Sean Newcomb is the presumed favorite for the fourth slot, but the fifth could be claimed by any number of candidates, including veteran lefty Scott Kazmir, no. 7 prospect Max Fried, or right-handers Matt Wisler, Aaron Blair or Lucas Sims.

Pirates hire Ben Cherington as their new general manager

Getty Images
7 Comments

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.