Mike Scioscia and struggling C.J. Wilson had another closed-door meeting

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C.J. Wilson struggled again Wednesday night, as his former Rangers teammates knocked him out of the game in the third inning, and afterward he had what Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times describes as “a lengthy closed-door meeting” with manager Mike Scioscia.

According to DiGiovanna it’s the second such meeting Wilson and Scioscia have had since the All-Star break and clearly the first get-together didn’t do much good, as he’s got a 5.79 ERA in 14 second-half starts.

However, despite Wilson’s struggles and Jerome Williams’ nice long-relief outing after he exited Scioscia is sticking with him in the rotation because “we want him to get comfortable with some things and get back out there … I can’t overstate how much we need our starters to do what they’re capable of.”

DiGiovanna reports that Scioscia and pitching coach Mike Butcher previously stressed to Wilson that he should be more aggressive and scale back his repertoire in an effort to avoid so many deep counts and walks. Wilson led the league in walks with the Rangers in 2010 and then cut his walks to 74 in 223 innings last season, but he’s already issued 83 free passes in 191 innings this year.

Wilson is in the first season of a five-year contract that will pay him $11 million in 2013, $16 million in 2014, $18 million in 2015, and $20 million in 2016.

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.