It appeared that Phillies manager Charlie Manuel tipped his hand on the favorite for the starting right field job earlier today, telling reporters that top prospect Domonic Brown “is sort of the first choice there.”
According to Jim Salisbury of CSNPhiladelphia.com, the skipper later had to clarify his comments.
“I should have been a little more specific,” the Phillies manager said. “By ‘first choice’ I mean I want to put him out there and play him a lot. He’s going to get a lot of at-bats [in spring training]. That job is up for grabs.”
Yeah, sure. Whatever you say, Charlie.
Some believe that the Phillies might be hesitant to anoint Brown as Jayson Werth’s replacement because he struggled in the Dominican Winter League after batting .210 with a 24/5 K/BB ratio in limited playing time with the Phillies last season. There’s probably some truth to that, but I’m of the opinion that they want to create some competition rather than hand him the job outright.
We aren’t going to learn anything about John Mayberry Jr. and Ben Francisco in the next 45 days that we don’t know already. The Phillies are smarter than that, right? This could all change if he goes 0-for-March, but I expect Brown to be on the Opening Day roster and at minimum, start everyday against right-handed pitching.
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.
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.