From Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post:
Bryce Harper will fly back to Washington on Sunday for further tests on his ailing left hip, which the Nationals fear may be injured more seriously than initially believed.
Harper aggravated his hip taking batting practice 10 minutes before first pitch Saturday night, and the hip pain left him floored in the batting cage adjacent to the Nationals’ clubhouse.
“He didn’t need to tell me anything,” manager Davey Johnson said Saturday. “He was on the ground in the cage after he swung at a pitch. I guess it was about 10 minutes before the game started. I was in a rush to bring a new lineup out there. … We’ve been kind of treating it as a slight hip strain. But obviously, it’s something more serious than that.”
Johnson was asked whether this might be a season-ending injury for Harper and replied, “I don’t know.”
Harper acknowledged last week that he has been playing through pain since April. The 20-year-old outfielder is currently batting .273/.377/.504 with 19 home runs and 49 RBI in 101 games this season.
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.