Albert Pujols aiming to participate in World Baseball Classic but first wants to test his right knee

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MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez has the story:

As long as his surgically repaired knee continues to feel good, Angels first baseman Albert Pujols is expected to play for the Dominican Republic in the upcoming World Baseball Classic, his agent, Dan Lozano, said.

Pujols underwent a cleanup procedure on his right knee in October to alleviate some mild discomfort that he developed near the conclusion of the 2012 regular season. Lozano told Gonzalez on Saturday that his client “feels great so far” but will probably test his knee out at spring camp before officially committing to his native country’s roster for the 2013 WBC.

Pujols, who will turn 33 years old this Wednesday, batted .285/.343/.516 with 30 home runs, 50 doubles and 105 RBI across 670 plate appearances last season for Anaheim. The Angels still owe him $238 million.

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.