After shaky start, Phil Hughes effective in return against Tribe

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Phil Hughes bounced back from a two-run first to hold the Indians scoreless over the next four innings Wednesday in his first start after nearly three months on the DL with an arm problem.

The Indians started the game with a walk from Michael Brantley, a single from Asdrubal Cabrera and an RBI single from Travis Hafner.  The second run scored after strike three to Carlos Santana got away from Russell Martin and Cabrera took off for third.  The throw eluded Alex Rodriguez and went into left field, allowing Cabrera to score.

While it was an unearned run initially, it was ruled earned after Orlando Cabrera singled later in the inning.

Hughes improved from there, though he never had a one-two-three inning.  He faced four batters each in the second, third and fourth.  In the fifth, he hit two batters and walked another before getting Lonnie Chisenhall to fly out, ending the frame and his night.

Hughes threw 88 pitches, 57 of them for strikes.  His fastball started off in the 92-93 mph range, but it had little movement and the Indians were able to make consistent contact against it.  Hughes survived because of his secondary pitches, his curve in particular.

All in all, it simply wasn’t the kind of showing that suggests Hughes is going to be a force in the second half.  He needs a little more velocity or fastball movement for that to happen.

Video: Gift Ngoepe singles in his first major league at-bat

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Pirates infielder Gift Ngoepe, just called up from Triple-A Indianapolis, singled in his first major league at-bat on Wednesday evening against Cubs starter Jon Lester. It was a well-struck ground ball up the middle in the bottom of the fourth inning. Unfortunately for him, the Pirates could not bring him around to score.

Ngoepe, who was pinch-hitting, stayed in the game to play second base.

Shelby Miller getting third opinion on elbow from Dr. James Andrews

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Diamondbacks starter Shelby Miller was placed on the 10-day disabled list on Monday due to inflammation in his right elbow. He had a second opinion from Dr. Neal ElAttrache on Tuesday and is currently awaiting a third opinion from Dr. James Andrews, Craig Grialou of Arizona Sports reports. That he’s getting a third opinion seems to imply that Miller’s elbow issue is rather serious.

Miller, 26, hasn’t been able to catch a break since joining the Diamondbacks. Last year’s nightmarish season included a finger injury stemming from mechanical woes and a brief demotion to the minor leagues. In 20 starts in the majors last year, Miller posted an ugly 6.15 ERA. This year, his ERA is a mediocre 4.09 over four starts.

The Diamondbacks called up Zack Godley to take Miller’s spot in the rotation. There was some speculation that it would be Archie Bradley instead, but he’s been working out of the bullpen.