The Indians sign Austin Kearns

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And you thought they Indians weren’t going to make a free agent splash. They just did: Austin Kearns:

Meet the new Indians right-handed hitting outfielder, same as the Indians old right-handed hitting outfielder. Austin Kearns is back. Kearns, who won a job with the Indians last spring training, has agreed to a one-year deal with the Tribe today. It’s the first free agent the Indians have signed to a big-league deal this winter.

Well, “splash” may be relative here.  The Indians have their hands full bringing back their beer vendors on the payroll and fans next season, so bringing back any free agent was somewhat unexpected.

That said, Kearns  is a useful player. He hit .263/.351/.395 in 461 plate appearances for the Indians and Yankees in 2010 and has always hit lefties pretty darn well. He’s also an excellent outfielder.  There were certainly teams who would have been interested in him had the Tribe not enticed him to come back.

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.