Matt Wieters to be placed on disabled list Friday

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From Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun comes word that the Orioles plan to place young catcher Matt Wieters on the 15-day disabled list before their season resumes Friday against the Blue Jays.

Wieters, 24, strained his right hamstring just a few days before the All-Star break and did not make enough progress this week. The Orioles are expected to start Craig Tatum on most nights while Wieters is out and Jake Fox will back him up in the event of an emergency.  Josh Bell could be recalled from Triple-A Norfolk to provide depth on the infield.

Wieters was considered a disappointment last season when he hit .288/.340/.412 with nine homers and 43 RBI in 354 at-bats after an early-season promotion to the big leagues.  This year, he has been worse. 

Through 269 at-bats, the former No. 5 overall pick has posted a .245 batting average, a .315 on-base percentage, six home runs and only 29 RBI.  The guy was a .343/.438/.576 hitter over a year-plus in the minor leagues and flashed power potential that has not at all translated to the majors.

He will be eligible to return from the disabled list on July 25.  Perhaps the rest will help.

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.