Stephen Strasburg strikes out six in latest rehab start

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The climb continues for Stephen Strasburg.

According to Mark Zuckerman of CSNWashington.com, the rehabbing right-hander allowed two runs (one earned) over three innings tonight in his latest minor league rehab start with Class A Hagerstown.

Strasburg, who is working his way back from Tommy John surgery, gave up two hits while striking out six, walking one and hitting a batter. He topped out at 98 mph on the radar gun and was pulled after throwing 40 out of 60 pitches for strikes.

Strasburg struggled in his previous start with Class A Hagerstown last Wednesday, so while he wasn’t perfect tonight, this outing was certainly a step in the right direction. The 23-year-old is tentatively scheduled to make his fifth rehab start Saturday, either with High-A Potomac or Triple-A Syracuse. While his 30-day rehab clock expires on September 6, it’s possible he could join the Nationals’ rotation as soon as September 2 against the Mets.

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.