Reds phenom Chapman exits early (back stiffness)

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Update: The Reds announced that Chapman departed with lower back stiffness, a problem that had plagued him all week. Chapman was set to be examined after the game. The feeling is that this could knock him out of the competition for a rotation spot.

Aroldis Chapman left his appearance in his second inning of work Monday accompanied by the Reds’ trainer after laboring the Rockies.
Chapman, pitching in relief of Bronson Arroyo, had an easy sixth inning versus Colorado before struggling during a 30-pitch seventh inning. Throwing mostly offspeed pitches, he walked two and gave up four runs, all of which were unearned. His departure immediately followed a three-run double.
Given that the Reds wouldn’t have wanted to extend him too far in a single inning of work, Chapman might have been done then anyway. Still, it wasn’t a good sign that manager Dusty Baker, pitching coach Bryan Price and trainer Paul Lessard all went to the mound to see him, and Lessard joined him as he walked off the mound.
If Chapman is hurt, even if it’s a minor problem, then there’d seem to be little chance of him beginning the season in the Reds’ rotation. Matt Maloney and Justin Lehr would be the top candidates to replace him.

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.

Manny Machado teaches us to never give up

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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.