According to Bill Ladson of MLB.com, Chien-Ming Wang threw his first bullpen session of the spring on Monday.
Wang, who is currently rehabbing from shoulder surgery, threw 10 pitches on flat ground and then 15 pitches from the mound. Nationals pitching coach Steve McCatty was satisfied with what he saw:
“I was happy with what he did,” McCatty said. “He felt good and the ball
has that sink to it. It was very good to see. The arm slot looked good.
He was free and easy with the ball.”
Wang was signed to an incentive-laden one-year, $2 million contract with the Nationals in February, although he isn’t expected to be ready to pitch in the majors until at least May.
It’s not much of a stretch to imagine a rotation of Wang, Stephen Strasburg, John Lannan, Jason Marquis and Jordan Zimmermann in Washington by September. In other words, look out, the Nationals could resemble a real, competitive baseball team real soon.
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.
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.