Jaime Garcia could begin a rehab assignment next week

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From the St. Louis Post-Dispatch comes this:

Cardinals lefty Jaime Garcia faced hitters Tuesday in Jupiter, Fla., and he could one more workout away from a rehab assignment.

That final workout will happen Friday afternoon and will involve Garcia throwing around 45 pitches. If all goes smoothly, he should make his first rehab start late next week at one of the Cardinals’ Low-A affiliates in south Florida.

Garcia has been sidelined since early June because of a left shoulder strain. The 26-year-old native of Reynosa, Mexico had a pedestrian 4.48 ERA, 1.46 WHIP and 51/19 K/BB ratio in 66 1/3 innings before landing on the disabled list. He owns a cool 3.45 career ERA and 1.34 career WHIP.

Assuming no setbacks, Garcia will be back in the St. Louis starting rotation by mid-August.

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.