Rafael Furcal leaves Dodgers to be with sick family member

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Rafael Furcal left the Dodgers and has returned home to the Dominican Republic to be with a sick family member. He’s been placed on the bereavement list, which means Furcal will miss at least three games.
Tony Jackson of ESPNLosAngeles.com reports that Furcal called Joe Torre at around one o’clock this morning and the manager told him to “take as long as he needs.”
Furcal has hit well since returning from a month-long stint on the disabled list with a hamstring injury, going 26-for-86 (.302) with eight extra-base hits in 21 games. Chin-lung Hu was called up from Triple-A to take Furcal’s spot on the roster, but Jamey Carroll is expected to be the primary fill-in at shortstop and Blake DeWitt stepped into the leadoff spot for this afternoon’s loss to the Reds.

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.