Giants calling up Pat Burrell from Triple-A

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As rumored earlier this week, the Giants have called up Pat Burrell from Triple-A just days after signing him to a minor-league contract.
Burrell went 5-for-16 (.313) with one homer and one double in five games at Triple-A, which was apparently enough to convince the Giants that he can at least be a viable bench bat despite earning his release from the Rays by hitting .218 with a .311 on-base percentage and .361 slugging percentage in 146 games over the past two seasons.
He looks washed up to me, but then again going from the NL to the AL often has that effect on veterans. Obviously the Giants are hoping a return to the NL can rejuvenate Burrell, as he smacked 33 homers with an .875 OPS during his last NL stint with the Phillies in 2008.
John Bowker will be demoted to the minors to make room for Burrell on the roster after hitting just .207 with a .609 OPS in limited action, perhaps signaling the 26-year-old’s last chance to claim a long-term role in San Francisco. Bowker’s minor-league numbers have always been solid, but he’s done nothing in 513 plate appearances during various stints with the Giants.

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.