Josh Hamilton says he’s “never, ever” struggled this long

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Josh Hamilton went 0-for-4 yesterday and is now hitting .216 with a .657 OPS and 61 strikeouts through 56 games for the Angels.

Asked after his latest 0-for whether he’s gotten off to a slow start like this before Hamilton replied: “Never, ever–from the first time I picked up a ball to now, no.”

Hamilton also expressed confidence that he’ll get things turned around, telling Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com:

Take a poll of every player in this clubhouse and see if I’m going to come out of it or not. The proof is in what’s gone on in the past. I’ve struggled at times and always come out of it.

I’d actually be sort of fascinated to see the result of such a poll, if it were somehow possible to conduct it while getting truthful answers of course. Seems like a pretty good bet that at least a few of Hamilton’s new teammates are skeptical about him returning to the level that got him a five-year, $125 million contract from the Angels.

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.