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Ex-NASA engineer leaves Astros for O's

This photo provided by the Baltimore Orioles shows Sig Mejdal. New Baltimore Orioles general manager Mike Elias called upon a familiar face to help rebuild the club, hiring former NASA engineer Sig Mejdal from the Houston Astros to be assistant general manager for analytics, the Orioles said Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2018. (Dan Kubus/Baltimore Orioles via AP)

BALTIMORE (AP) New Baltimore Orioles general manager Mike Elias called upon a familiar face to help rebuild the club, hiring former NASA engineer Sig Mejdal from the Houston Astros to be assistant general manager for analytics.

Mejdal will report to Elias and will oversee all aspects of the club's growing analytics effort and serve as an adviser to Elias, the Orioles said Wednesday. Mejdal had been a special assistant for process improvement to Houston GM Jeff Luhnow since October 2015.

Elias was introduced Monday as Baltimore's general manager. The 35-year-old has been charged with turning around a team that finished 47-115, the worst record in the majors.

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Rangers' Beltre retires after 21 seasons

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) Adrian Beltre had a sometimes-imposing stare and plenty of quirky habits. He also had a genuine love for the game, and a lot of fun in a Hall of Fame-caliber career.

After 21 big league seasons in which Beltre hit 477 home runs and became the first player from the Dominican Republic to have 3,000 hits, the slick-fielding third baseman for the Texas Rangers retired Tuesday at age 39.

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Price, Venters named Comeback Players

NEW YORK (AP) Boston pitcher David Price has won the AL Comeback Player of the Year award and Atlanta reliever Jonny Venters has earned the NL honor.

Price, a 33-year-old left-hander, was 16-7 with a 3.58 ERA in 30 starts for the Red Sox, who won their fourth World Series title in 15 seasons. He was 6-3 with a 3.38 ERA in 11 starts and five relief appearances in 2017, when he was slowed by left elbow inflammation.

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Rays cut 1B Cron after 30-homer season

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) The Tampa Bay Rays have designated C.J. Cron for assignment after the slugger hit 30 home runs with an .816 OPS last season.

Cron batted .253, slugged .493 and drove in 74 during his first season with Tampa Bay, yet the Rays cut the 28-year-old Tuesday before he entered his second season of arbitration eligibility. He made $2.3 million last season while splitting time between first base and designated hitter.

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Cubs pitching coach Hickey steps down

CHICAGO (AP) The Chicago Cubs will have different hitting and pitching coaches for the second straight season after they announced Jim Hickey's departure Tuesday.

Hickey is leaving the organization after one season as pitching coach because of personal reasons, according to the team. Hitting coach Chili Davis was fired last month after one season and replaced by Anthony Iapoce.

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Marlins designate INF-OF Dietrich

MIAMI (AP) The Miami Marlins have designated for assignment infielder-outfielder Derek Dietrich, who had been with the team since 2013.

Dietrich is eligible for arbitration after making $2.9 million this year, when he hit .265 with 16 home runs in 149 games while playing mostly in left field. He's a .254 career hitter with 60 homers.

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Mets release RHP Mejia after 3 drug bans

NEW YORK (AP) Pitcher Jenrry Mejia was released Tuesday by the New York Mets after serving three drug suspensions.

The 29-year-old right-hander from the Dominican Republic was told in July by baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred that he could return to the big leagues in 2019.

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Rangers sign C Mathis to 2-year deal

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) Catcher Jeff Mathis and the Texas Rangers finalized a $6.25 million, two-year contract Tuesday.

Mathis, one of baseball's best defensive catchers, gets $3.25 million next season and $3 million in 2020.

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Rays hire Linares as third base coach

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) Rodney Linares is joining the Tampa Bay Rays as third base coach.

The team announced the move Wednesday. The 41-year-old replaces Matt Quatraro, promoted to bench coach after Charlie Montoyo left last month to become Toronto's manager.

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