Andy Pettitte thinks he’s ready to rejoin the Yankees rotation

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After throwing 55 pitches in a simulated game Wednesday, Andy Pettitte, who has missed 2 1/2 months with a fractured ankle, said he’s ready to start for the Yankees next week.

“I did everything I needed to do. I felt good. It’s another step,” he said. “They felt like my stuff was great. I just don’t know what the next step is, hopefully I’ll get back in the rotation. That’s what I want to do.”

If it were June instead of September, the next step would be two or three minor league rehab starts. That’s not a possibility now, though. Odds are that he’ll rejoin the rotation next week and throw 60-70 pitches in his first start, with David Phelps ready to replace him come the fourth or fifth inning.

“He means a lot to this club. We’ve seen that. We saw that a lot the first time,” manager Joe Girardi said. “We went on quite a roll. If they deem he’s ready to move around like he has to, he’ll be out there.”

 

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.