The Phillies are going to place Utley, Polanco on the DL

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The Phillies swooned when they lost Jimmy Rollins to the DL earlier this year. Not saying there was a direct correlation or anything — what ailed them during the slump went beyond the absence of their shortstop — but the experience did nothing to give the team or its fans confidence that losing a starting infielder for an extended period is something you can just blow off. It stunk, really.

Now things doubly stink: the Phillies are placing both Chase Utley and Placido Polanco on the the DL.

Utley, as we noted earlier today, injured his right thumb sliding into second last night. He had an MRI earlier today. We don’t know how it went, but obviously it went bad enough to where the team feels he needs two weeks off. Polanco’s problems have been more chronic in nature: soreness and discomfort in his
elbow. He had a cortisone injection yesterday.

Greg Dobbs and Brian Bocock are going to be called up to replace Utley and Polanco.  Not the fairest swap in the history of the world, but there you are.

Imagining Theo Epstein in politics

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“When Alexander saw the breadth of his domain, he wept for there were no more worlds to conquer.”

Or: “When Theo Epstein won World Series championships with the two most championship-starved franchises in baseball history, he got bored, and decided to run for the Senate or something.”

That latter bit is the premise of a Politico piece speculating that the Cubs president could go into politics one day. The story features an interview with former Obama chief strategist David Axlerod, who thinks Theo has what it takes. Mostly what he has is fame, popularity, good looks and money. No idea what his positions on issue are, but that other stuff goes a long way in politics these days.

Bonus: given what we just elected last fall, a guy who once had a little temper tantrum and dressed up in a gorilla suit is just as viable a candidate as anyone.

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.