Kaz Matsui is drawing interest…in Japan

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The Rakuten Eagles are apparently interested in fielding a complete team of failed Japanese MLB veterans.

They already signed Akinori Iwamura and have discussed Kenshin Kawakami with the Braves, and now, according to a Japanese media report passed along by Jason Coskrey, the Eagles have interest in Kaz Matsui.

Matsui arrived with much fanfare when he signed a three-year, $20.1 million contract with the Mets in December of 2003, but never matched expectations stateside, putting together a modest .267/.321/.380 batting line over seven seasons. Now 35 years old, Matsui was released by the Astros in May after batting just .141 over 71 at-bats. He finished the season with Triple-A Colorado Springs in the Rockies’ organization, batting .262/.331/.349 over 301 at-bats.

I honestly forgot how impressive his numbers were with the Seibu Lions prior coming over to the United States. Perhaps he’s a cautionary tale for those expecting big things from Tsuyoshi Nishioka?

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.