Yesterday it was Manny, today it’s Da Meat Hook.
Dmitri Young is in attendance at the Winter Meetings in Dallas and word from multiple baseball scribes is that he is in the best shape of his life. Really.
According to Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com, he has lost 70 pounds (!) and is hoping to make a comeback in MLB.
This news doesn’t come as a tremendous shock, as Craig recently mentioned that the slimmed-down Young suited up for Caribes de Anzoategui in the Venezuelan Winter League. Unfortunately things didn’t go so well. He was released after batting just .167 (11-for-66) in 20 games.
It’s fun to root for comebacks, but Young is 38 years old and hasn’t played in the big leagues since 2008 as a member of the Nationals. It’s a longshot, but perhaps some GM will give him a spring training invite. He’s apparently willing to go to Japan if he can’t find an opportunity with an MLB club.
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.