Bud Norris
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Bud Norris ends 2018 season with hamstring injury

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It’s been a rough month for Cardinals reliever Bud Norris, who likely saw his 2018 season come to an abrupt end after departing Friday’s 8-4 loss to the Cubs with a left hamstring injury. While the right-hander doesn’t appear to be facing a serious setback, club manager Mike Shildt told reporters that he’ll likely hold Norris back from any relief appearances over the last two games of the regular season.

Norris, 33, entered Friday’s game in the bottom of the seventh inning and almost immediately slipped on the mound during Kyle Hendricks‘ at-bat. Hendricks took a five-pitch walk to open the inning, then advanced to third base on David Bote‘s single and a throwing error by Jedd Gyorko. With runners on the corners and no outs, Norris still appeared to be in some pain and made his exit from the mound following a brief conference with Shildt and a team trainer. He was later diagnosed with left hamstring tightness.

Although the veteran righty hasn’t paid an official visit to the disabled list this season, he’s weathered a variety of minor injuries over the last several months, from a bout of right hip discomfort to a blister issue on his pitching hand. He’ll prepare to enter free agency this fall after rounding out his 10th year in the majors with a career-high 28 saves, 3.59 ERA, 3.3 BB/9, and 10.5 SO/9 through 57 2/3 innings.

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.