Lima Time! Irabu! Long Beach feels the excitement!

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Fun times in the independent leagues:

Consider
this week’s action at the port city’s historic little Blair Field, max
capacity 3,238. There, two enigmatic pitchers who once drank deeply the
major league good life were the main attractions for the Long Beach
Armada, a 5-year-old team in the independent Golden Baseball League. On
Friday, pitching in front of bleachers that were one-third empty, we
found Jose Lima, the former All-Star known for creating wherever he
goes a jocular, peppery, occasionally flaky and, to some, patently
offensive way of being: Lima Time . . . And Saturday’s pitcher? Yes,
that was 40-year-old Hideki Irabu.

A former big leaguer playing in the lowest of the bus leagues means one
of two things: (a) that the player has come to grips with the fact that
being paid to play baseball for a living is a privilege rather than a
right and will do anything to continue to do so; or (b) that he is
completely deluded as to his worth as a ballplayer and feels that this
is mere warm-up on the way back to the bigs.

At their heights, both Irabu and Lima were guys who carried
themselves as though they were entitled to pitch in the majors, so you
might guess that they both fall under (b). Only one appears to,
however, with the other quite content to simply fling a ball and enjoy
life. I’m not going to tell you which one is which, but I will say that
I was quite surprised.

Video: Gift Ngoepe singles in his first major league at-bat

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Pirates infielder Gift Ngoepe, just called up from Triple-A Indianapolis, singled in his first major league at-bat on Wednesday evening against Cubs starter Jon Lester. It was a well-struck ground ball up the middle in the bottom of the fourth inning. Unfortunately for him, the Pirates could not bring him around to score.

Ngoepe, who was pinch-hitting, stayed in the game to play second base.

Shelby Miller getting third opinion on elbow from Dr. James Andrews

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Diamondbacks starter Shelby Miller was placed on the 10-day disabled list on Monday due to inflammation in his right elbow. He had a second opinion from Dr. Neal ElAttrache on Tuesday and is currently awaiting a third opinion from Dr. James Andrews, Craig Grialou of Arizona Sports reports. That he’s getting a third opinion seems to imply that Miller’s elbow issue is rather serious.

Miller, 26, hasn’t been able to catch a break since joining the Diamondbacks. Last year’s nightmarish season included a finger injury stemming from mechanical woes and a brief demotion to the minor leagues. In 20 starts in the majors last year, Miller posted an ugly 6.15 ERA. This year, his ERA is a mediocre 4.09 over four starts.

The Diamondbacks called up Zack Godley to take Miller’s spot in the rotation. There was some speculation that it would be Archie Bradley instead, but he’s been working out of the bullpen.