Indians manager Terry Francona let pitcher Blake Wood know that he had officially made the team’s 25-man roster in a unique way on Monday. Joe Reedy of FOX Sports Ohio has the details:
It was during a pitching change in the seventh inning of Monday’s spring training game against the Reds that the 28-year-old right-hander found out he earned a spot.
“When I went to take him out, (catcher Luke) Carlin was coming and I told him to stay back there a little bit,” manager Terry Francona said. “I went out there and asked (Wood) if he ever made the team on the mound? He was like no. I go ‘well, you just did.’ After that we came and talked to him the dugout but you could tell he was pretty excited.”
Francona and general manager Chris Antonetti were planning on telling Wood that he made the roster the next morning but bullpen coach Kevin Cash told him that there was some anxiety from Wood and a couple others. Francona, who rarely takes his cell phone to the field but did in this case because there were a lot of moving parts to the roster, called Antonetti, who was watching the minor-league games, and asked if it was OK to tell Wood that he made it.
Wood has been in the Majors before — in 2010-11 with the Royals, and last season briefly with the Indians. But he was on the cusp of starting the season back in Triple-A again, so it was a fun way for Francona to deliver the good news.
In 120 2/3 innings in the big leagues, Wood has a 4.25 ERA with 94 strikeouts and 45 unintentional walks.
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.