Atlanta: 1B Freddie Freeman (vision problems) was back in the lineup after gleefully testing his new custom sports glasses. They were on his chair when he arrived at the ballpark, and he didn't even wait to change out of his street clothes before he was in the batting cage. Freeman promptly hit a home run in his first at-bat. ... RH reliever Chad Durbin, who began the season by allowing six runs and nine hits in his first three appearances, covering only three innings, went into Wednesday with a streak of nine straight scoreless appearances in which he allowed just one hit and had a .053 opponents' batting average. Chicago: LH reliever James Russell picked up the victory one day after earning his first career save. Russell's father, Jeff, had 186 big-league saves. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Russells are the fourth father and son who each saved at least one game in the majors. The others: Julio and Jaime Navarro, Pedro Borbon Sr. and Jr., and Steve and Jason Grilli. ... C Steve Clevenger went 2-for-4 in his first game after coming off the disabled list. He was 11-for-22 before going on the DL. Cincinnati: Pittsburgh police are investigating a late Tuesday robbery of the downtown hotel room of LH closer Aroldis Chapman. Police found Chapman's 26-year-old girlfriend tied up in the room. Chapman was not present because the Pirates-Reds game went late following a two-hour rain delay. According to police, the woman opened the door for a man claiming to be part of hotel maintenance. Once she did, he entered and demanded several items. When she did not cooperate, he tied her hands with cloth napkins. The robber took jewelry, clothing, a computer, credit cards and ID cards, police said. ... 1B Joey Votto was out of the lineup for the first time since Aug. 9. With today's off day, Votto will get two days of rest. Votto has played in 176 straight games. "I was a little apprehensive that two days in a row would hurt his stroke. He said it's not going to bother him at all. Joey Votto knows Joey Votto pretty well," manager Dusty Baker said. ... OF Todd Frazier performed the Heimlich Maneuver on a man who was choking on a piece of food in a downtown Pittsburgh restaurant earlier this week. Frazier was there with teammate Ryan Ludwick. "It was a monster piece. The guy was very thankful," Frazier said. "The lady he was with was crying. It was surreal. I'd never done it before in my life." Colorado: RHP Jeremy Guthrie, the scheduled starter today, has allowed six runs, all earned, in each of his three starts at Coors Field, where he is 0-2 with a 9.92 ERA and where opponents are hitting .352 against him. ... Jordan Pacheco went into Wednesday 19-for-58 (.328) with four doubles, one triple, one homer, nine RBI and nine runs scored since he began playing third base regularly on May 15. His 19 hits in that span were the second most by a NL third baseman, trailing only the Marlins' Hanley Ramirez, who had 21. Houston: J.R. Richard, whose career was cut short when he suffered a stroke during the 1980 season, will be inducted into the Astros Walk of Fame on Friday. The team will wear its 1980s-style rainbow jerseys in the game that night. ... The Astros went into Wednesday with 15 losses in which they had a lead and were 11-14 in games decided by two or fewer runs. They had dropped off to a 73-victory pace despite a positive run differential (202-198). Nine of the Astros' road defeats had come on the opponent's last at-bat, and they were 0-6 in extra-inning games (0-5 on the road). Los Angeles: Former owners Frank and Jamie McCourt have been investigated by a federal grand jury for more than a year for possible misconduct in their operation of the Dodgers and related entities, the Los Angeles Daily Journal reported. The Los Angeles Times reported that, according to a source, the probe appears to be focused on the accounting and propriety of the McCourts' spending. ... 1B James Loney batted second for the first time this season and 18th time in his career. Loney, who batted second 15 times late last season, got off to a slow start and has batted in the bottom part of the order most of the season but went into Wednesday with six multi-hit games since May 8. ... 3B Juan Uribe is slowly progressing from his left wrist injury, which has sidelined him since May 14, and has returned to taking batting practice. Miami: Batting practice at Marlins Park was canceled because the field was drenched by a flash storm that hit while the roof was open. The roof usually stays open on game days until 4 p.m. because officials want the grass to get sufficient sunlight. Rain started falling lightly around 3:15 p.m. and then quickly intensified. Grounds crews covered the infield with a tarp within 15 minutes, but the retractable roof didn't start to close until about 3:25 p.m. It takes about 14 minutes for the roof to completely shut. ... 3B Hanley Ramirez has been working with hitting coach Eduardo Perez on hitting inside pitches, and they're getting results. He was 5-for-6 in the first two games of the series against Washington. Milwaukee: RHP Michael Fiers and C Martin Maldonado on Tuesday became the first players in franchise history to form a battery in their first major league starts. Fiers allowed just one run over seven innings to record his first victory, and Maldonado singled for his first big-league hit. ... Before RH closer John Axford converted saves on consecutive nights Monday and Tuesday, he had only four save opportunities in May, converting three of them. New York: SS Ronny Cedeno (left calf) was placed on the disabled list, and IF-OF Jordany Valdespin was recalled from Class AAA Buffalo. Valdespin already has spent three separate stints with the Mets because of injuries to IFs Ruben Tejada, Justin Turner and Cedeno. ... C Josh Thole (concussion) is scheduled to catch nine innings today for Buffalo. If all goes well, the Mets will activate him Friday. Philadelphia: 1B Ryan Howard (left Achilles) probably won't return before July, GM Ruben Amaro Jr. said. Howard is still in rehab at Clearwater, Fla. ... C Carlos Ruiz (right hamstring) was out of the lineup for the third straight game. After a day off today, he is expected to return Friday. ... LF-1B Laynce Nix (left calf) took part in some light running before batting practice. It was the first running Nix has done since landing on the DL on May 11. Nix was not running at 100 percent and expects to be sidelined for at least another couple of weeks. Pittsburgh: SS Jordy Mercer, promoted Tuesday from Class AAA Indianapolis, made his first major league start Wednesday and batted second. ... LH reliever Doug Slaten could remain with the Pirates even after RH reliever Juan Cruz returns from the restricted list this weekend. Manager Clint Hurdle always has preferred two lefties in the bullpen, and Slaten had a 0.36 ERA before being called up Tuesday, then pitched a 1-2-3 inning that night. St. Louis: Manager Mike Matheny had his infield in an exaggerated shift at times for two Braves hitters, 1B Eric Hinske and 2B Dan Uggla, during the just concluded series. Matheny said he instituted the shift because of the damage the Braves had wreaked on the Cardinals in St. Louis when they swept a three-game series earlier this month. "We're going to do anything, whether it's conventional or not, if we think it gives us an advantage," Matheny said. ... The Cardinals dropped to 3-9 in one-run games with their loss Tuesday. San Diego: RH closer Huston Street (shoulder) is scheduled to make his first rehab appearance Friday for high-A Lake Elsinore (Calif.). He threw a bullpen session Wednesday. ... CF Cameron Maybin played for the first time since spraining his right wrist Saturday, but he was merely used as a pinch runner. Team officials have said that Maybin is not a candidate for the disabled list. San Francisco: Team president Larry Baer said the Giants have no immediate plans to bring back Barry Bonds in some capacity, but GM Brian Sabean said, "The invite's open-ended. It's not if but when. He's got a personal services contract." Bonds visited AT&T Park earlier this week and said he's interested in instructing players in some capacity. ... 3B Pablo Sandoval (broken hamate bone in left wrist) took 30 swings off a tee left-handed and said it felt good. However, he still hasn't tried to hit right-handed. Washington: C Jesus Flores (right hamstring) remained out of the lineup, but he said he could have played. He's expected to return Friday, when OF-1B Michael Morse (right lat) also might play for the first time this season. Morse is on a rehab assignment at high-A Potomac (Woodbridge, Va.). ... C Jhonatan Solano, with his mom and dad watching from the stands, smacked a pinch double in the ninth inning in his first major league at-bat Tuesday. Solano admitted afterward he was a little nervous. "There was a little bit of pressure," Solano said. "I breathed like 50 times. Hopefully I would get a hit, so that was good." Solano got his first start Wednesday.
- Joey Votto
- Jason Kubel