Orioles ‘poking around’ on Jason Vargas

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Like a kid checking out a dead frog with a sharp stick, I presume.

ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark reported Thursday that the Orioles are now shying away from Matt Garza and are “poking around on” Seattle’s Jason Vargas as they attempt to upgrade their starting pitching.

Hopefully, this is nothing more than due diligence. Vargas has been a pretty solid starting pitching for Seattle, but he wouldn’t work in Camden Yards or the AL East. Vargas has a 5.09 ERA outside of Safeco this year and has allowed a whopping 17 homers in 69 innings on the road. Overall, he’s allowed 23 homers, which leads the majors by three. Just his road total alone would rank tied for fifth in all of baseball.

Also, look at his career record against American League East teams:

Boston: 1-2, 3.51 ERA
New York: 0-3, 6.55 ERA
Tampa Bay: 1-3, 3.82 ERA
Toronto: 0-3, 6.49 ERA

Overall, he’s 2-11 with a 5.01 ERA against AL East teams other than Baltimore. Just counting the road outings, he’s  1-6 with a 7.08 ERA.

Vargas may not be entirely a Safeco creation — he did have a decent enough 3.79 ERA in 13 road starts last year — but it’s doubtful he’d be more than a fringe fifth starter for an AL East team. Put him in Camden Yards and Orioles fans may start longing for Jake Arrieta again soon enough.

Video: Gift Ngoepe singles in his first major league at-bat

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Pirates infielder Gift Ngoepe, just called up from Triple-A Indianapolis, singled in his first major league at-bat on Wednesday evening against Cubs starter Jon Lester. It was a well-struck ground ball up the middle in the bottom of the fourth inning. Unfortunately for him, the Pirates could not bring him around to score.

Ngoepe, who was pinch-hitting, stayed in the game to play second base.

Shelby Miller getting third opinion on elbow from Dr. James Andrews

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Diamondbacks starter Shelby Miller was placed on the 10-day disabled list on Monday due to inflammation in his right elbow. He had a second opinion from Dr. Neal ElAttrache on Tuesday and is currently awaiting a third opinion from Dr. James Andrews, Craig Grialou of Arizona Sports reports. That he’s getting a third opinion seems to imply that Miller’s elbow issue is rather serious.

Miller, 26, hasn’t been able to catch a break since joining the Diamondbacks. Last year’s nightmarish season included a finger injury stemming from mechanical woes and a brief demotion to the minor leagues. In 20 starts in the majors last year, Miller posted an ugly 6.15 ERA. This year, his ERA is a mediocre 4.09 over four starts.

The Diamondbacks called up Zack Godley to take Miller’s spot in the rotation. There was some speculation that it would be Archie Bradley instead, but he’s been working out of the bullpen.