While Russ Ortiz is content in retirement, Ramon is still kicking around, and he’ll get a chance to step into the Cubs rotation in place of the injured Carlos Zambrano next week, the team announced today.
Ortiz made two starts and 14 relief appearances for the Dodgers last year, amassing a 6.30 ERA. Prior to that, he hadn’t pitched in the majors since 2007. He spent 2008 struggling in Japan.
Now 38, Ortiz is 6-3 with a 4.44 ERA and a 79/20 K/BB ratio in 95 1/3 innings as a member of Triple-A Iowa’s rotation this season. The Cubs decided to give him a try rather than go back to youngster Casey Coleman.
Not that he should really care at all, but Ortiz could do more damage to his career numbers by continuing his comeback attempts. As is, he’s still three games over .500 in his career at 85-82. Plus, his ERA stands at 4.93. If he struggles, he could join James Baldwin, Sidney Ponson, Glendon Rusch and Jose Lima as the only pitchers in major league history to throw at least 1,300 innings and post ERAs over 5.00.
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.