Giants sign Wellemeyer to minor-league deal

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CSNBayArea.com’s Mychael Urban reports that the Giants have signed Todd Wellemeyer to a minor-league contract with an invite to spring training.
Wellemeyer was briefly one of Cardinals pitching coach Dave Duncan’s many success stories after being claimed off waivers from the Royals in mid-2007. Purely a reliever at that point, Wellemeyer moved into the Cardinals’ rotation and went 16-10 with a 3.70 ERA in 43 starts through the end of 2008.
Unfortunately his late-career mini-breakout was wrecked by elbow and shoulder problems last season and Wellemeyer went 7-10 with a 5.89 ERA while spending September back in the bullpen. He was initially optimistic about landing a guaranteed deal this offseason, but instead will have to fight for a gig.
The first four spots in San Francisco’s rotation are set in stone with Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Barry Zito, and Jonathan Sanchez, but if healthy Wellemeyer has a chance to claim the fifth spot assuming the Giants prefer to keep stud prospect Madison Bumgarner in the minors a bit longer. A good low-cost pickup for the Giants and a pretty good opportunity for Wellemeyer to get back on track at age 31.

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.