Orioles lose Brian Roberts to abdominal strain

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Brian Roberts, who had to overcome a back injury to open the season on time, was forced from Friday afternoon’s game against the Blue Jays due to a strained abdominal muscle.
It’d be a big blow if the Orioles lost their second baseman for any length of time, though they are better covered now with recent acquisition Julio Lugo as their utilityman than they were with last year’s backup, Robert Andino.
Before the Lugo trade, it looked like Justin Turner would be the choice to fill in if Roberts’ back injury was going to limit him past Opening Day. The 24-year-old hit .300/.362/.388 with just 37 strikeouts in 387 at-bats for Triple-A Norfolk last season, and he impressed this spring by going 11-for-32 with a homer and seven RBI. Lugo is probably the better choice to start at the moment, but Turner would be in line for the callup if Roberts lands on the DL.

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.