Just sayin: Scott Rolen

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Last weekend in this space, I had a pretty hard time advocating the Reds going after 34-year-old oft-injured third baseman Scott Rolen. Could you blame me?

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Games played:

2005- 56
2006 – 142
2007- 112
2008 – 115

That’s an average of 106 games played.

To his credit, Rolen has put together a nice comeback season, hitting
.314/.366/.468 with eight homers and 43 RBI. It was enough for Walt
Jocketty, his former general manager in St. Louis, to bring him to
Cincinnati in exchange for third baseman Edwin Encarnacion along with
prospects Josh Roenicke and Zach Stewart.

The fact that Rolen is already out of action on Monday after getting
hit by a pitch on Sunday is purely coincidental to my original point.
Worse yet, Walt Jocketty sold low on Encarnacion, a 26-year-old slugger
who is batting .205/.324/.361 with five homers an 16 RBI in an injury
plagued season. Teams like Cincinnati, by all accounts out of the race,
should be buying low on talents like Encarnacion, not buying high on
deteriorating players like Rolen.

Just sayin, Cincinnati.

Another interestingly named player is promoted by the Pirates

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When you promote a player from the minors, the first and foremost consideration is whether or not he can help your ball club. But, assuming that’s taken care of, teams should really, really make it a priority to call up dudes with cool sounding names because it makes life more interesting for the rest of us.

The Pirates are doing that. The other night Dovydas Neverauskas made his big league debut. In addition to being the first Lithuanian born-and-raised player in major league history, it’s a solid, solid name. Now the Pirates are making another promotion: Gift Ngoepe.

Yep, Gift Ngoepe. He’s an infielder from South Africa, making the leap to the bigs due to David Freese‘s hamstring injury. Ngoepe, 27, was batting just .241/.308/.379 through 66 plate appearances this season with Triple-A Indianapolis, his ninth in the minors, so he’s not exactly a prospect. But man, that’s a killer name.

It’s also worth mentioning that Gift and Neverauskas were arrested together in a bar fight last August in Toledo, so there is already a good basis for some bonding here.

Good luck, Gift. Gift Ngoepe. Mr. Ngoepe. G-Ngo. Man, I could do this all day.

Manny Machado teaches us to never give up

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The Rays beat the Orioles last night, but the play of the game belonged to an Oriole defender.

Evan Longoria was batting and he chopped a ball foul down the third base line. At least it started out foul. As we all know, however, it doesn’t matter where the ball starts, it matters where it is when it crosses the bag.

Manny Machado knows this and didn’t give up on the ball despite it starting several feet in foul territory. He watched it come back, stayed with it and threw out Longoria who, unlike Machado, did give up on it, assuming he’d merely get a strike and another hack. Watch:

Longoria would get Machado back, however, fielding a ball Machado smoked to third base in the ninth inning, recording the second to last out of the game.