Clayton Kershaw suspended five games, will appeal

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As first reported by Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times, Major League Baseball handed a five-game suspension to Dodgers starter Clayton Kershaw on Wednesday for intentionally throwing at Giants outfielder Aaron Rowand on Tuesday night.

Dodgers manager Joe Torre and bench coach Bob Schaefer were also suspended one game each for their actions following Kershaw’s ejection.

The left-handed Kershaw has decided to appeal and will remain available to the Dodgers until that process is carried out.  He may be able to avoid missing a start if all goes according to plan.

Through 20 starts this season, Kershaw has posted a 9-5 record, a 3.15 ERA and a 1.24 WHIP.  He has also fanned 135 batters in 122 2/3 innings for a 9.90 K/9 that ranks first among all National League starters.  The Dodgers are 49-45 on the season — six games back of the Padres in the National League West.

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.