Rockies hire Mark Wiley as director of pitching operations

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No strangers to the unconventional, the Rockies announced today that they have hired Mark Wiley for their newly-created position of director of pitching operations.

Wiley worked as a scout with the Marlins this year and has previously served as pitching coach with the Orioles, Indians, Marlins and Royals. He’s had two previous stints with the Rockies, first as senior director of player personnel in 2000 and as a special baseball operations assistant from November 2005 through 2007.

Troy Renck of the Denver Post notes that Wiley will oversee pitching throughout the organization in his new position and will also have significant input on who the Rockies hire as their next pitching coach.

Pitching has always been an issue at Coors Field and it was especially problematic this year, as the Rockies ranked last in the majors in both team ERA (5.22) and rotation ERA (5.81). The club implemented a four-man rotation in mid-June and limited their starters to around 75 pitches, but they are expected to return to a more traditional five-man rotation next season.

Video: Gift Ngoepe singles in his first major league at-bat

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Pirates infielder Gift Ngoepe, just called up from Triple-A Indianapolis, singled in his first major league at-bat on Wednesday evening against Cubs starter Jon Lester. It was a well-struck ground ball up the middle in the bottom of the fourth inning. Unfortunately for him, the Pirates could not bring him around to score.

Ngoepe, who was pinch-hitting, stayed in the game to play second base.

Shelby Miller getting third opinion on elbow from Dr. James Andrews

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Diamondbacks starter Shelby Miller was placed on the 10-day disabled list on Monday due to inflammation in his right elbow. He had a second opinion from Dr. Neal ElAttrache on Tuesday and is currently awaiting a third opinion from Dr. James Andrews, Craig Grialou of Arizona Sports reports. That he’s getting a third opinion seems to imply that Miller’s elbow issue is rather serious.

Miller, 26, hasn’t been able to catch a break since joining the Diamondbacks. Last year’s nightmarish season included a finger injury stemming from mechanical woes and a brief demotion to the minor leagues. In 20 starts in the majors last year, Miller posted an ugly 6.15 ERA. This year, his ERA is a mediocre 4.09 over four starts.

The Diamondbacks called up Zack Godley to take Miller’s spot in the rotation. There was some speculation that it would be Archie Bradley instead, but he’s been working out of the bullpen.