Tim Stauffer undergoes elbow surgery

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Tim Stauffer’s 2012 season is officially over, as Corey Brock of MLB.com reports that he underwent surgery yesterday to repair the flexor tendon in his right elbow. Padres manager Bud Black said that he should be ready for spring training next year.

Stauffer was originally expected to be the Padres’ Opening Day starter, but he ended up making just one start in the big leagues this season. After beginning the year on the disabled list, he made his season debut against the Nationals on May 14 and gave up four runs (three earned) over five innings. However, he was placed right back on the disabled list after feeling more discomfort in his elbow. He finally decided to have surgery after being pulled from a rehab assignment earlier this month.

Stauffer made $3.2 million this season and is arbitration-eligible again this winter, so he figures to be a non-tender candidate this winter. The 29-year-old right-hander will likely have to settle for a one-year “prove it” contract, but after posting a 3.73 ERA over 185 2/3 innings in 2011, there should be plenty of teams willing to take a chance on him.

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.