The Yankees want to extend Joe Girardi’s contract

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Joe Girardi gets a vote of confidence and then some from Brian Cashman. Via ESPN New York:

“We’d like to have Joe Girardi back … We have a great interest in keeping him, and hopefully Joe will be here. … I think there’s really no reason to believe Joe won’t be here.”

That’s not even a dreaded vote of confidence. That’s a rare-for-New York expression of a desire to do an extension many months before said extension is necessary.

And I think it’s the right call. It’s not Joe Girardi’s fault all of the stars the Yankees were supposed to feature this year have been hurt. It is much to his credit that the Yankees have been as competitive as they have been thus far without those stars.

More importantly: Girardi, unlike just about any Yankees manager in living memory, keeps things on an even keel. There is always drama in New York, of course, but way, way more of it is outside of the clubhouse than in these days. It’s in the front office and in the imaginations of the media quite often, but rarely do you hear of players having issues with Girardi or vice-versa. Either he’s well-liked or he manages to defuse things discreetly, either of which is a valuable tool to have when managing in New York.

I see no reason why the Yankees would want to consider going with someone else at all.

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.