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The Grand Slam: Padres reportedly hire GM, Javier Baez homers in Cubs debut

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 The San Diego Padres somehow made trades and many other transactions without a general manager after they fired Josh Byrnes in late June. But a team still needs a GM and, about six weeks after letting go of Byrnes, they've finally named a successor, Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reports.

His name is A.J. Preller, and most recently he was Jon Daniels' top assistant with the Texas Rangers. The move hasn't been announced officially by the Padres yet — and the team's executive chairman told MLB.com that the hire hasn't happened — but Rosenthal is right on these issues 99 times out of 100, or better.

Billy Eppler, a top aide to Brian Cashman with the Yankees, also reportedly was in the running. (Or, if you believe Padres exec Ron Fowler, maybe he still is.) The same goes for Kim Ng, who would be the first female GM in the majors.

Here's what MLB.com writes about Preller's credentials:

Preller was in his 10th season in the Rangers organization, where his current duties have him overseeing the team's player-development and scouting departments, though it's in the international market -- Latin America specifically -- where Preller has distinguished himself.

AND MAY HIS FIRST HIT BE A HOME RUN: A top 10 prospect in the majors, Javier Baez joined the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday night and started off with a whiff — or three. Three strikeouts and 0 for 5 overall until the 12th inning when...

He took Boone Logan into the wooded bullpen at Coors Field, and the solo home run was the difference in the Cubs' 6-5 victory against the Colorado Rockies. Baez is just one of many touted prospects for the Cubs, who have been rebuilding their system under Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer.

About his confrontation with Logan, via the Associated Press, Baez said:

''I faced him before and he threw me all curveballs,'' Baez said. ''He's got a good curveball so I wasn't sitting on the curveball, I was trying to hit a fastball."

When he crossed home plate he pointed to his personal fan club and went back to the dugout where he was greeted with cheers.

''Everybody was going crazy,'' he said.

Has "next year" finally arrived, in a sense, for the team looking for its first World Series title since 1908? The Cubs' 48-63 record doesn't reflect the New World Order right now, of course, but just wait until Kris Bryant, Jorge Soler, Albert Amora and all the gang get to Wrigley Field. 

PRICE DEBUTS IN TIGERS VICTORY: The Detroit Tigers are 1-0 in the David Price Era after beating the New York Yankees 4-3 in 12 innings at Yankee Stadium thanks to a solo homer by Alex Avila. Price didn't get the coveted decision, but he did get 10 strikeouts after pitching 8 2/3 innings, leaving with the score tied 3-all.

''Happy it's over and happy we won,'' Price said. ''Finally feel part of the team.''

The Tigers added Price in a three-team deal with the Tampa Bay Rays and Seattle Mariners just before the trade deadline Thursday.

Joba Chamberlain got booed by some in his old ballpark, but he also got four outs, helping to keep the Tigers in the running until Avila took Matt Daley deep:

A'S AND HAMMEL BEAT RAYS IN SMYLY'S DEBUT: Jason Hammel came in with a 9.53 ERA for the Oakland Athletics since landing with Jeff Samardzija in one of Billy Beane's big moves. He didn't exactly dominate the Tampa Bay Rays, allowing seven hits and four walks in 5 2/3 innings, but he kept them off the scoreboard in Oakland's 3-0 victory.

Hammel received encouragement from fans at the O.co Coliseum, and he seemed to appreciate it:

''Felt awesome,'' Hammel said. ''I wanted to come in and make an immediate impact. It didn't work out that way. But it goes to show you how good of baseball fans we have here.''

As for left-hander Drew Smyly, who was part of the Price trade, he performed satisfactorily, allowing all three runs, seven hits and one unintentional walk in 5 1/3 innings.

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David Brown is an editor for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at rdbrown@yahoo-inc.com and follow him on Twitter!

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