Link-O-Rama: Pedro gets the Game 3 nod for Phillies

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* As expected, Pedro Martinez has officially been named the Phillies’ starter for Game 3 tomorrow night in Colorado. He’ll face Jason Hammel with the NLDS tied at 1-1.
Martinez hasn’t pitched since September 30 and has started just once since September 19 because of a neck injury, but went 5-1 with a 3.63 ERA after joining the rotation in mid-August. Asked about forecasts of 30-degree temperatures and possible snow, Martinez said: “I’m going to enjoy the snow. Maybe I’ll be rounding the bases in a snowmobile.”
* Ron Gardenhire made a lineup switch for tonight’s Game 2 of the ALDS, starting Carlos Gomez in center field, shifting Denard Span to right field and Jason Kubel to designated hitter, and benching Jose Morales. Gomez isn’t much of a hitter, but the defensive upgrade definitely makes the move worthwhile.
* On the heels of my piece about Chip Caray’s awfulness as an announcer, here’s a link to Vin Scully calling the ninth inning of last night’s Dodgers victory. You know, just so everyone can hear what a truly great announcer sounds like, even at the age of 81.
* DeWayne Wise provided the biggest highlight of the White Sox’s season when his amazing catch in center field preserved Mark Buehrle’s perfect game in July, but he’s now a free agent after being removed from the 40-man roster today. Wise is a good defender with plenty of speed, but hit just .225/.262/.366 this season and his career .635 OPS is second-worst among all active outfielders ahead of only Joey Gathright.
* Cole Hamels’ wife gave birth to a baby boy this morning.

Imagining Theo Epstein in politics

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“When Alexander saw the breadth of his domain, he wept for there were no more worlds to conquer.”

Or: “When Theo Epstein won World Series championships with the two most championship-starved franchises in baseball history, he got bored, and decided to run for the Senate or something.”

That latter bit is the premise of a Politico piece speculating that the Cubs president could go into politics one day. The story features an interview with former Obama chief strategist David Axlerod, who thinks Theo has what it takes. Mostly what he has is fame, popularity, good looks and money. No idea what his positions on issue are, but that other stuff goes a long way in politics these days.

Bonus: given what we just elected last fall, a guy who once had a little temper tantrum and dressed up in a gorilla suit is just as viable a candidate as anyone.

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.