Mike Pelfrey cleared for Friday start after recent flu virus

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Mike Pelfrey has been cleared to start tonight’s series opener against the Phillies, despite a recent flu bug that caused him to lose 11 pounds over the course of the past week.

The Mets considered using Dillon Gee for a spot start, but Terry Collins told Andy Martino of the New York Daily News yesterday that Pelfrey’s condition has improved over the past few days.

“He said he feels much better today, and better than he did his last start,”  Terry Collins said.  “We’re going to let him go out there tomorrow.”

Pelfrey actually tossed seven innings of one-run ball against the Diamondbacks last Friday night. It was his best outing of the young season, though as he told the New York Post in excruciating detail, he wasn’t feeling too hot.

“I started getting ready for the game and I started getting real hot and started sweating,” Pelfrey said. “Felt it in my stomach, head and chest. I went out to the bullpen, my bullpen wasn’t very good. I kept coughing. In the sixth inning I puked in my mouth and swallowed it on the mound.”

What’s everyone having for lunch today?

Imagining Theo Epstein in politics

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“When Alexander saw the breadth of his domain, he wept for there were no more worlds to conquer.”

Or: “When Theo Epstein won World Series championships with the two most championship-starved franchises in baseball history, he got bored, and decided to run for the Senate or something.”

That latter bit is the premise of a Politico piece speculating that the Cubs president could go into politics one day. The story features an interview with former Obama chief strategist David Axlerod, who thinks Theo has what it takes. Mostly what he has is fame, popularity, good looks and money. No idea what his positions on issue are, but that other stuff goes a long way in politics these days.

Bonus: given what we just elected last fall, a guy who once had a little temper tantrum and dressed up in a gorilla suit is just as viable a candidate as anyone.

Another interestingly named player is promoted by the Pirates

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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.