Last week when Danny Hultzen was scratched from a Triple-A start with shoulder problems for the second time this season the Mariners insisted it was merely an “irritation” and a “minor setback.”
They can call it whatever they want, but Greg Johns of MLB.com reports that the former No. 2 overall pick will be completely shut down for at least 10 more days before potentially resuming a throwing program. In other words, he’s weeks away from possibly seeing game action again even in the best-case scenario.
General manager Jack Zduriencik also told Johns that the Mariners “are going to make some adjustments to his routines … to look at a little bit of his mechanics.” Hultzen was seemingly on the verge of a call-up before last week’s injury, going 4-1 with a 2.20 ERA and 31/7 K/BB ratio in 29 innings at Triple-A, but now the 23-year-old left-hander’s season might be in jeopardy.
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.
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.