Former Yankees prospect Brandon Weeden returns to mound

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Cleveland Browns first-round pick and former Yankees minor leaguer Brandon Weeden threw out the first pitch for the Indians tonight, missing high and inside.

It must have brought back memories.

Weeden pitched for five years in the minors, four in the Yankees’ system, after the Bombers made him a second-round pick in 2002 and went 19-26 with a 5.02 ERA and a 344/213 K/BB ratio in 374 1/3 innings before deciding to give up baseball for football.

Of course, things got a lot better for him with his new sport. After redshirting in 2007 and spending two years as a backup, Weeden became one of college football’s top quarterbacks the last two years, and despite his advanced age, the Browns made him the 22nd selection in April’s draft.

After the first pitch today, Weeden said it was the first time in four years he had picked up a baseball.

“I don’t miss it,” Weeden said of the minors. “If I had made it all the way up here (the majors) I’m sure it would be a different story.”

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.