University of Washington quarterback Jake Locker is a couple months from being drafted by an NFL team, but in 2009 he was also a 10th-round pick in the MLB draft and signed for a $250,000 bonus that gives the Angels his baseball rights through 2015.
Angels general manager Tony Reagins talked to Mark Saxon of ESPNLA.com about Locker’s status and suggested that he may choose to play baseball if there’s an NFL work stoppage:
I think there are some factors out there that are going to make his decisions more difficult. The labor situation is one, where he’s selected is one of them. Our eyes are wide open in this regard and we’ll see how it plays out. You always have a chance.
Locker’s football stock has dipped somewhat, but he’s still likely to be a high-round pick who’ll receive more than $250,000 to sign with an NFL team. However, if there’s no football to be played in 2011 he’s a legitimate outfield prospect and the Angels have enough invested in him to give him an extended opportunity in the minors.
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.