The Phillies are taking a "hard look" at John Smoltz

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So says Jayson Stark. The idea being for Smoltz to be a “back-of-bullpen weapon.”  Given Brad Lidge’s performance last year he could be a Nerf gun and still represent an improvement.

Smoltz has long been on record as preferring starting to coming out of the pen.  Earlier in the week the Nationals reportedly had interest in him.  One would assume that they’d offer him a spot in the rotation — and a mentoring role to Stephen Strasburg — if he were so inclined. But the Nationals are going to lose a lot of games. If he goes to Philadelphia, he can win.

Starting or winning? We’ll soon find out what’s more important to John Smoltz.

The first native Lithuanian in MLB history made his debut last night

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Why yes, it is a slow news day. But let’s not allow that to take away from some MLB history.

Last night a young man named Dovydas Neverauskas pitched in mopup duty for the Pirates, who were getting hammered by the Cubs. Mr. Neverauskas pitched two innings, allowing one run, making him, by default, the most effective pitcher the Pirates sent out there last night.

That’s good, but that’s not what makes it historic. What makes it historic is that Neverauskas is the first person born and raised in Lithuania to make the Majors. Here’s some back story on him from last year’s Futures Game.

Lithuania is known for producing basketball players. Now it has its first major leaguer. Whether he becomes baseball’s Arvydas Sabonis is an open question.

Bumgarner: dirt bike adventure was “definitely not the most responsible decision”

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Madison Bumgarner talked to the press yesterday about his dirt bike injury and its fallout.

While there is some speculation that the Giants may change their approach to Bumgarner’s contract situation at some point as a result of all of this, yesterday Bumgarner noted that the organization has been supportive as have his teammates. He said he apologized to them as well for an act he characterized as “definitely not the most responsible decision.”

As for the wreck itself, Bumgarner was a bit embarrassed to say that it wasn’t the result of doing anything cool or spectacular on the bike. Sounds like he probably just laid the thing down. Guess it makes no real difference given that he’s injured either way, but you’d hope to at least get a cool story out of it. Alas.

Here’s video of him talking to the press. The best and most accurate takeaway from it: when he says “it sucks.” Yep.