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National League notebook -- April 19, 2012

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Arizona: RF Justin Upton (left thumb) was held out of the lineup for the third straight game. The D-backs have contemplated putting him on the disabled list but might be more hesitant to do so now that CF Chris Young (right shoulder) also is on the DL. ... RH reliever Takashi Saito (calf) has been taking pitchers' fielding practice at Chase Field after doing all of his previous work in a rehab pool at the Salt River training facility. Manager Kirk Gibson said the D-backs would like to have Saito pitch in a rehab game or two to make sure he has no issues fielding his position but will discuss it with him.

Atlanta: 3B Chipper Jones was not in the lineup because of swelling in his surgically repaired left knee. Because Jones took the precaution of wrapping it for the team flight, he didn't experience the degree of swelling that he did flying to Atlanta from Houston last week, and the knee will not have to be drained. But the swelling limits his mobility. ... RHP Tim Hudson (back surgery) moved from Class A to Class AAA in his rehab assignment and pitched five scoreless innings Wednesday. He allowed one unearned run, two hits and three walks and struck out four. Hudson had gone 0-2 with a 7.71 ERA in two starts for low-A Rome (Ga.). He could return to the Braves after one more rehab start.

Chicago: LF Alfonso Soriano, who has averaged 34 home runs per 162 games in his 14-year career, is hitting .227, and all 10 of his hits have been singles. He had been playing well in the field, but he was slow in getting to two balls Wednesday, allowing Miami runners to take an extra base. ... With CF Marlon Byrd hitting .075 (3-for-40), some fans are wondering whether the Cubs will call up CF Brett Jackson from Class AAA (Des Moines) Iowa. But team president Theo Epstein reiterated the Cubs will not rush top prospects such as Jackson and 1B Anthony Rizzo, who also is at Iowa. "Those guys are continuing their development at Triple-A, and there are things they're working on to continue to improve," Epstein said.

Cincinnati: 2B Brandon Phillips hit his first home of the year and also had an RBI single, and he said his strained hamstring is improving. "I feel like it's getting stronger," he said. "I stay back on my legs more. I'm feeling pretty good, but the more innings I play I start feeling it." ... RF Jay Bruce went 2-for-4, and both his hits went to left-center. During his 0-for-19 skid, he was trying to pull the ball nearly every at-bat.

Colorado: RF Michael Cuddyer expects to play tonight after having the nail removed on his left big toe. He fouled a ball off the toe in the fifth inning Wednesday and two pitches later hit a two-run homer. Cuddyer left the game after the sixth. ... 3B Chris Nelson began the season 0-for-10 but has since gone 11-for-26 (.423) with two doubles and four RBI. He hit safely in seven of nine games on the homestand that ended Wednesday and went 11-for-29 (.379) in those games. Nelson struck out once in five straight games, a streak that ended Wednesday.

Houston: OF Travis Buck was not in the lineup one day after straining his left hamstring. That's the hamstring that has given Buck problems throughout his career, though he thinks he escaped serious injury. "Last year I really strained it pretty good but I think I only missed six days and this is not even close to being as bad as it was last year, so I guess that's the only positive thing," he said. He's day-to-day. ... LH reliever Wesley Wright faced only one batter in three straight outings through Wednesday, and twice he walked that batter. Both times it was costly, including Wednesday, when his walk loaded the bases with nobody out in what would turn into the Nationals' go-ahead inning.

Los Angeles: 3B Juan Uribe was held out of the lineup for the second consecutive game because of a sore left wrist and was scheduled to be examined today. While Uribe is out, Jerry Hairston Jr. and Adam Kennedy figure to share the position. Hairston started there the last two games against the Brewers and on Thursday made a game-saving diving stop of a potential game-tying double off the bat of Alex Gonzalez. ... CF Matt Kemp hit his seventh home run of the season. The last Dodger to hit seven home runs in the team's first 13 games was Rick Monday in 1978.

Miami: CF Emilio Bonifacio stole two more bases, giving him nine for the season without being caught. He was leading the majors in steals through Thursday afternoon and had more than 19 teams. "Get on base and keep running. That's part of our game," said Bonifacio, who stole 40 bases in 2011. ... Manager Ozzie Guillen said Donnie Murphy could get another start at second base tonight if Omar Infante isn't ready. Infante didn't play Wednesday or Thursday because of a tight left groin.

Milwaukee: LF Ryan Braun is among a handful of players who have been battling a virus that has been going through the Brewers clubhouse. He did not look himself in the three-game series against the Dodgers, going 0-for-11. ... 1B Travis Ishikawa got his first start of the season, and manager Ron Roenicke said the move was two-fold: Ishikawa was the only player who hadn't started a game, and 1B Mat Gamel had started each of the previous 12 games. Roenicke said he wanted to give Gamel a blow even though he had been playing well. Ishikawa responded with two run-scoring hits.

New York: 1B Ike Davis has three home runs in his last four games and is batting .294 with an .894 slugging percentage over that span. He has struck out only three times in those games after whiffing nine times in his first six games of the season. ... Manager Terry Collins said that when CF Andres Torres (left calf) returns, CF Kirk Nieuwenhuis will remain in the majors only if there is an opportunity for him to play every day. But Nieuwenhuis is hitting .375 with a .444 on-base percentage. "Nieuwey's played great," Collins said. "But Andres Torres, we got him for a reason. ... We don't have anybody (besides Torres) that's going to steal any bases for us."

Philadelphia: LHP Cliff Lee on Wednesday became the fourth starting pitcher since 2000 to start and continue pitching into extra innings. Lee needed only 102 pitches to get through 10 innings; the Phillies lost in the 11th. Teammate Roy Halladay (2003, 2007), Aaron Harang (2009) and Mark Mulder (2005) are the only other starters since 2000 to pitch into extra innings. ... 1B-OF Laynce Nix made his third start in the last four games at first base Wednesday and committed an error in the ninth inning. Before this season, Nix had played nine games at first base in his 10-year career. "If I look comfortable, that's great -- but I'm not," said Nix.

Pittsburgh: RH closer Joel Hanrahan (right hamstring) is expected to be available to close tonight after being shut down for the Pirates' final two games in Arizona. ... C Rod Barajas has one hit in his last 20 at-bats and is at risk of losing more playing time to backup Michael McKenry. Barajas also hasn't been as solid defensively as advertised when the Pirates signed him out of free agency.

St. Louis: 1B Lance Berkman will be placed on the disabled list, GM John Mozeliak said, because of a recurrence of a left calf strain. Also, CF Jon Jay sprained his right shoulder -- he left the park in a sling -- when he banged into the wall in vain pursuit of a home run. IF-OF Skip Schumaker (strained muscle in right side) will be recalled from a five-game rehab assignment and is expected to take over in center. ... SS Rafael Furcal, hitting .364, is keeping the ball out of the air more this season. "That's the way he used to play," third-base coach Jose Oquendo said. "(Last year), he was more into swinging free. Now he's into making good, solid contact. Hit line drives. That's the way he should play."

San Diego: 3B Chase Headley had the first two-homer game of his career Wednesday and raised his homer total to four for the season's first 13 games. That equaled his homer total for all of 2011. Headley also had 12 RBI, a total he didn't reach until the 32nd game of 2011. ... When LHP Clayton Richard gave up eight runs on 10 hits in 5 1/3 innings Wednesday, it dropped his record to 0-3 with a 9.00 ERA in five career starts at Coors Field. It also raised the San Diego starters' ERA to 5.30, up from 3.62 last year.

San Francisco: RHP Matt Cain, coming off a one-hitter, pitched nine scoreless innings Wednesday. In the one-hitter, he retired his first 17 batters and the final 10. Wednesday, he set down the first seven he faced and the final 13. ... 3B Pablo Sandoval has hit safely in the Giants' first 12 games. The team record for the longest hitting streak to open a season was set by Willie Mays, who began the 1960 season hitting in 16 straight. Sandoval is hitting .333 on the season.

Washington: SS Ian Desmond got the day off for what manager Davey Johnson described as a "mental break," the same term he used when he gave 2B Danny Espinosa a game off on Monday. Desmond went into Thursday hitting .300 but was 1 for his last 12. ... Although the Nationals had scored only 49 runs through Wednesday, they had allowed just 32 runs and their pitching staff led the majors with a 1.92 ERA. The starters also led the league with a 1.65 ERA. The plus-17 run differential was the best by a Nationals organization during a season since 1969. But then the Nats allowed five runs in the first inning Thursday.
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