Mark Ellis may be finished in Oakland after nine seasons

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Mark Ellis has spent his entire nine-year career in Oakland, making him the longest-tenured A’s player on the active roster, but as Joe Stiglich of the San Jose Mercury News writes he may not be back in 2011.
Ellis is finishing up a two-year, $11 million contract and the A’s have a $6 million option or $500,000 buyout for next season. Ellis is 33 years old, will fail to be healthy for 125-plus games for the seventh time in nine seasons, and is hitting just .268/.339/.345 for the lowest OPS of his career and the third-worst OPS among AL second basemen, so Oakland choosing the buyout seems likely.
“Numbers-wise, it hasn’t been good,” Ellis told Stiglich. “There’s no doubt about that. They’re going to do what they want to do. Obviously I like it here. This is where I want to be. I just do what I can to help the team win, and that stuff will work itself out.”
Stiglich speculates that the A’s could decline Ellis’ option and then attempt to re-sign him at a lesser price, but his age and declining performance may be as big a factor as the money. Plus, the A’s have several young second basemen like Adrian Cardenas, Jemile Weeks, and Eric Sogard who could be close to MLB ready.

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.