Joe Mauer exits game with strained left oblique

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From MLB.com’s Rhett Bollinger comes word that Twins first baseman Joe Mauer made an early exit from Tuesday night’s game against the Royals after suffering a strained left oblique muscle. Most oblique strains need 2-3 weeks of rest and rehab, so Mauer is presumably headed to the 15-day disabled list.

Mauer hit a two-run double in the bottom of the fourth inning Tuesday versus Kansas City, but he is still batting just .271 with a .695 OPS in 76 games this season. The 31-year-old entered 2014 — his first season since moving permanently away from catcher — with a .323 career average and .873 career OPS.

Video: Gift Ngoepe singles in his first major league at-bat

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Pirates infielder Gift Ngoepe, just called up from Triple-A Indianapolis, singled in his first major league at-bat on Wednesday evening against Cubs starter Jon Lester. It was a well-struck ground ball up the middle in the bottom of the fourth inning. Unfortunately for him, the Pirates could not bring him around to score.

Ngoepe, who was pinch-hitting, stayed in the game to play second base.

Shelby Miller getting third opinion on elbow from Dr. James Andrews

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Diamondbacks starter Shelby Miller was placed on the 10-day disabled list on Monday due to inflammation in his right elbow. He had a second opinion from Dr. Neal ElAttrache on Tuesday and is currently awaiting a third opinion from Dr. James Andrews, Craig Grialou of Arizona Sports reports. That he’s getting a third opinion seems to imply that Miller’s elbow issue is rather serious.

Miller, 26, hasn’t been able to catch a break since joining the Diamondbacks. Last year’s nightmarish season included a finger injury stemming from mechanical woes and a brief demotion to the minor leagues. In 20 starts in the majors last year, Miller posted an ugly 6.15 ERA. This year, his ERA is a mediocre 4.09 over four starts.

The Diamondbacks called up Zack Godley to take Miller’s spot in the rotation. There was some speculation that it would be Archie Bradley instead, but he’s been working out of the bullpen.