Kurt Suzuki was in The Best Shape of His Life … last year

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Kurt Suzuki has added 15 pounds and talks to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle about how that extra muscle is going to help keep him from getting fatigued and stuff.  Is he … in the BSOHL?  No! That was last year:

Last year at this time, Suzuki felt he was in the best shape of his life, but he says now that that doesn’t always translate to his sport.

“Triathlon runners are in great shape, but it’s not baseball shape,” he said. “My body fat percentage was under 10, and now it’s 12 – they want it at 12 1/2-15 because I lose so much during the season. You can’t be skin and bones when you’re a catcher.”

So he’s been eating a lot of food in addition to hitting the gym.  The article includes the sentence “When I added carbs, I started seeing the weight coming.”

Don’t I know it, Kurt, don’t I know it.

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.

Manny Machado teaches us to never give up

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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.