Red Sox reportedly place waiver claim on Johnny Damon

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UPDATE: Jon Heyman of SI.com reports that the mystery team submitting a waiver claim for Johnny Damon was … the Red Sox. Seriously.

Of course, Joel Sherman of the New York Post notes that Damon has a no-trade clause that includes Boston, so that may be a hang-up even if the Red Sox and Tigers can work out a deal (he also can’t be “assigned” there, to get around the “trade” part).

Obviously the Red Sox could use the outfield help given their many injuries, but it may be too little too late considering they’re 6.5 games back in the AL East and 5.5 back in the Wild Card.

Plus, it’s possible Theo Epstein and company simply claimed Damon to block him from going to the Yankees or Rays.

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Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that an unknown team has claimed Johnny Damon off waivers, which means he can only be traded to that one team.

Detroit has 48 hours to potentially work out a deal, at which point they can either pull him back off waivers and keep Damon for the remainder of the season or simply let the claiming team assume his contract.

He’s owed about $2 million for the rest of the season, so giving him away for nothing could actually be an option with the Tigers all but out of contention at 61-63.

As for the identity of the mystery team, Buster Olney of ESPN.com speculates that the White Sox, Red Sox, Rays, and Rangers “make the most sense as a fit for Damon.”

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.