Ryan Howard, Phillies sign a five year, $125 million contract extension

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Howard skinny.JPGUPDATEDone deal. 5 years, $125 million. It kicks in starting in 2012.  This seems like a really bad, really unnecessary move for the Phillies. More later on this, of course.

2:20 P.M.: Part of what we do here is pass along rumors. When it’s one that I’m really dubious about, I make extra sure to put the little “Rumor:” disclaimer in the headline just so you don’t think I’m trafficking in complete and utter nonsense with the intent to mislead. I try to keep my trafficking in complete and utter nonsense is totally above-board.

With that disclaimer out of the way, Jim Salisbury of CSN-Philly is reporting that the Phillies are poised to sign Ryan Howard to a five-year extension.

This makes little sense to me as Howard is signed through 2011, when he’s going to make $20 million. Howard has admirably transformed himself from a big ol’ slugger to a smaller, more athletic slugger who is no longer a horror show at first base, but he’s still a big guy on the wrong side of 30 who could very easily fall off a cliff before he’s 35 as so many sluggers who fit his profile do. It would be puzzling at best for the Phillies to make a five year commitment to that type of player, especially when they have more pressing contractual issues such as Jayson Werth.

I don’t have enough experience going through Jim Salisbury’s rumor history to know if it’s reliable or not. I’ll note that he was out front of the Roy Halladay-to-Philly rumors last fall, and he was the first to report that the Phillies were talking to Shane Victorino about a contract extension. Still, this one seems far-fetched to me.

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.