Wandy Rodriguez scratched from Saturday start with discomfort in elbow

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According to Steve Campbell of the Houston Chronicle, the Astros have scratched Wandy Rodriguez from Saturday’s scheduled start against the Diamondbacks due to discomfort in his left elbow. Bud Norris will move up a day to make the start in his place.

Rodriguez complained of some soreness following Sunday’s outing against the Blue Jays and felt continued discomfort during a bullpen session today. Astros general manager Ed Wade said that the 32-year-old southpaw is scheduled for an MRI exam tomorrow.

“Until we get the MRI, we won’t know if we’re looking at him just missing (Saturday) and getting pushed back,” Wade said. “Somebody is going to have to start on Tuesday. Once we get the MRI, we’ll get a better sense and feel of whether he’s going to be in position to throw a bullpen on Sunday and get ready for Tuesday.”

Rodriguez is 3-3 with a 3.41 ERA and 53/16 K/BB ratio over his first 10 starts this season. He has made at least 30 starts in four out of the last five seasons.

One would think that an extended absence could lead to top prospect right-hander Jordan Lyles being called up from the minor leagues. Lyles, 20, has a 3.20 ERA over his first 10 starts with Triple-A Oklahoma City this season, averaging 6.3 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9. He has a 2.81 ERA over his last five starts.

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.