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Report: Athletics calling up A.J. Puk

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MLB.com’s Martín Gallegos reports that the Athletics will call up pitching prospect A.J. Puk from Triple-A Las Vegas ahead of Tuesday’s series opener against the Yankees.

Puk, 24, was selected by the A’s in the first round (sixth overall) in the 2016 draft. MLB Pipeline ranks him as the organization’s No. 2 prospect behind Jesús Luzardo, and No. 43 across the league.

Puk made his season debut on June 11 with High-A Stockton after recovering from Tommy John surgery. In 25 1/3 innings across three levels of the minors this year, Puk has allowed 16 runs (14 earned) on 21 hits and 10 walks with 38 strikeouts.

The A’s are expected to use Puk out of the bullpen. A good showing for Puk, however, could earn him some points towards earning a spot in the starting rotation going into next season.

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.