Do the Brewers want Corey Hart back?

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Corey Hart will head into free agency having missed the entire season following knee surgeries and numerous setbacks. Meanwhile, the Brewers have gotten horrendous production at first base in his absence. So will Milwaukee try to bring back Hart to fill the position next season?

“We haven’t even begun to consider it yet,” assistant general manager Gord Ash told Adam McCalvy of MLB.com. “As we all know, there’s plenty of time.”

For now Hart is expected to be ready for spring training, but then again no one thought he’d miss the whole first half of this year, let alone the entire season. Hart topped an .840 OPS in each of the previous three seasons, including last year when he hit .270 with 30 homers while playing 149 games. He’s finishing up a three-year, $26.5 million deal.

Under normal circumstances the Brewers could make a qualifying offer to Hart and receive draft pick compensation if he signed elsewhere, but as McCalvy notes he’d likely just accept the one-year, $14 million contract that comes attached and stick Milwaukee with a too-big bill considering the health uncertainty.

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.