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Indians to activate Andrew Miller on Monday

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Indians left-handed reliever Andrew Miller is scheduled to rejoin the team on Monday, when he’ll help the team finish off their road trip with a three-game series against the Rays. Miller has been laid up with a left shoulder impingement for nearly two weeks, but told reporters he feels ready to pitch again after successfully tossing a bullpen session on Thursday and receiving a cortisone shot in his shoulder.

It’s been a rough year for the 33-year-old lefty, who missed significant time with a hamstring strain and chronic knee inflammation over the summer and has yet to replicate the superb numbers that netted him a second All-Star nomination in 2017. He’ll head into the next road series with a 3.38 ERA, 4.9 BB/9, and 12.4 SO/9 over 24 innings — the worst marks he’s recorded since his 2011 run with the Red Sox.

Miller will return to a team that entered Sunday’s game with a comfortable 16.5-game lead in the AL Central despite having one of the most unstable bullpens in the league. According to FanGraphs, Cleveland’s relief corps currently ranks fourth-worst with a collective 4.69 ERA and -0.4 fWAR — something the ailing left-hander is unlikely to single-handedly correct over the next few weeks. Assuming Miller’s struggles on the mound can be mostly attributed to continued health problems and not any fundamental issue with his mechanics or delivery, however, he might well be able to turn his season around in time to make a real difference when the postseason kicks off next month.

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.