Much like Giants ace Tim Lincecum, Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw has experienced back stiffness following his first couple of workouts in spring camp.
Also like Lincecum, who was able play to play catch Wednesday, Kershaw’s issue is thought to be minor.
Dodgers manager Don Mattingly told MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick that Kershaw’s scheduled Wednesday bullpen session was cancelled, but only because the team can afford to be extra cautious this early in the spring:
“He’s been around for a while,” Mattingly said in Glendale, Arizona. “We know he’s young and he’s thrown a lot of innings and we won’t do anything to jeopardize him.”
Kershaw should be back on his normal routine by the weekend. He has already been named the Dodgers’ Opening Day starter and is not scheduled to appear in a Cactus League game until March 9. The 2011 NL Cy Young Award winner posted a dominant 2.28 ERA and 0.98 WHIP in 233 1/3 innings last season.
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.