Red Sox plan to keep Casey Kotchman around

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Assuming that the Mike Lowell trade to Texas goes through as planned Casey Kotchman will temporarily move atop Boston’s depth chart at first base, with Kevin Youkilis taking over for Lowell at third base. That alignment doesn’t figure to last long, with the Red Sox reportedly making a serious play for Adrian Beltre that would leave Youkilis at first base and send Kotchman back to the bench.
Despite the likelihood that Kotchman will be a backup once the dust clears in Boston and is set to get a raise from his $2.85 million salary via arbitration the Red Sox reportedly plan to tender him a contract tomorrow. Kotchman is an excellent defensive first baseman, but he’s also a 27-year-old career .269/.337/.406 hitter who batted .268/.339/.382 in 2009 and even with the Red Sox’s huge payroll $3 million is awfully expensive for a not-so-potent bench bat.

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.