Jake Peavy goes five hitless in third Cactus League start

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White Sox right-hander Jake Peavy was shelled for three earned runs on four hits in his two-inning Cactus League debut March 7 against the Brewers.

Peavy then allowed six earned runs on eights hits to the A’s in his second Cactus League start — an outing that lasted just 2 1/3 innings.

But he got back on the right track Sunday.

On the mound for the third time in Cactus League play, Peavy hurled five innings of hitless ball against the Mariners. He struck out five while issuing just one walk, and threw 55 of his 70 pitches for strikes.

“It was a good day, got a lot of good work in,” Peavy told reporters after the 5-0 exhibition victory over Seattle. “It’s refreshing to go out there and have good stuff and good command. After that last start, people were talking about, ‘I thought you said you felt good.’ I do feel good. We’re working on stuff. If I make a bad pitch, I turn around in spring training, I’m throwing the same pitch until I get it.”

Peavy has registered a 4.49 ERA in 238 2/3 innings with the White Sox since being acquired in a blockbuster trade at the July 2009 deadline. The 30-year-old is owed a $17 million salary this season.

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.