Amid a flurry of roster moves on Sunday, the Yankees reinstated third baseman Gio Urshela from the 10-day injured list, where he spent the minimum amount of time rehabbing a left groin strain. They also reinstated second baseman Thairo Estrada from the IL and recalled catcher Kyle Higashioka and second baseman Breyvic Valera from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
It’s welcome news for Urshela, whose first campaign with the Yankees has been explosive, to say the least. Prior to landing on the injured list — the result of an inadvertent groin injury during a contest against the Mariners in late August — the 27-year-old infielder touted a jaw-dropping .331/.370/.555 batting line with 18 home runs, a .924 OPS, and a career-high 3.1 fWAR through 414 plate appearances. He’ll continue to round out the club’s top five hitters behind DJ LeMahieu, Gleyber Torres, Aaron Judge, and Brett Gardner.
Even if those numbers prove unsustainable following Urshela’s recovery, it’s excellent timing for the Yankees, who will need a stable roster of sluggers when the calendar flips to October. Entering Sunday, they’re currently positioned at the top of the AL East division with a sizable 8.5-game lead over the second-place Rays.
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.