Joey Votto to undergo knee surgery Tuesday, out at least three weeks

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The Reds entered tonight’s action one game in front of the Pirates in the National League Central, but they’ll have to get by without their best hitter for a while.

The Reds just announced that Joey Votto will undergo surgery tomorrow to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee. He’s expected to miss the next three to four weeks. This confirms an earlier report by MLB Network’s Dan Plesac.

Votto initially suffered the injury on June 29 against the Giants, but he managed to avoid a stint on the disabled list and participate in the All-Star Game as scheduled. However, he evidently can’t play through the pain any longer.

Todd Frazier is filling in at first base tonight against the Diamondbacks and figures to stick there if Scott Rolen is healthy enough to play. That’s no sure thing, of course. Votto’s surgery could increase the Reds’ interest in adding a bat leading up to the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.

Votto, 28, is hitting .342/.465/.604 with 14 home runs, 49 RBI and a 1.069 OPS in 86 games this season. He leads the National League with 66 walks.

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.