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National League notebook -- Monday, July 16, 2012

The SportsXchange

Arizona: The D-backs juggled their schedule to add a day-night doubleheader against Miami on Aug. 22 at Chase Field and avoid violating the rule that prohibits a team from playing more than 20 consecutive days. The D-backs will be off on Aug. 23, breaking up a stretch in which they were scheduled to play 23 days in a row. The original schedule was approved by Major League Baseball and the players' association before the violation was noticed. ... Seven days after undergoing Tommy John surgery, RHP Daniel Hudson (elbow) began his rehabilitation. "Felt so good to take the dang cast off," he tweeted.

Atlanta: C Brian McCann, mired in a slump for much of the first half, has a seven-game hitting streak. He is hitting .385 (10-for-26) in that span. ... IF/OF Martin Prado has played five positions this year, most recently shortstop because of injuries. "He's a baseball player. He plays the game like he's in the backyard," manager Fredi Gonzalez said.

Chicago: RH closer Carlos Marmol has converted his last nine save opportunities after briefly losing his job and also spending time on the disabled list. Although his outings are still adventurous, he's been getting results. "He's able to throw the strike when he has to now," manager Dale Sveum said. ... 1B Anthony Rizzo has hit safely in safely in 13 of 15 games since being recalled from Class AAA (Des Moines) Iowa and also has looked smooth on defense. He started two double plays over the weekend.

Cincinnati: 1B Joey Votto will undergo arthroscopic surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee today, the Reds announced. He will be out 3-4 weeks. ... LH closer Aroldis Chapman struck out the side to record his 13th save Sunday. In his last seven innings to that point, he allowed two hits, two walks and struck out 18.

Colorado: LHP Christian Friedrich's five wins leads the team going into his start tonight. Friedrich, who made his major league debut May 9, also leads the club with 69 strikeouts in 70 2/3 innings. ... The Rockies are 3-12 in Sunday games this season and 9-31 going back to the start of the 2011 season, during which they set a modern-day major league record with 17 consecutive Sunday losses.

Houston: C Jason Castro wasn't too surprised by the swelling in his surgically repaired right knee that put him back on the disabled list. "I've been told that this is somewhat normal for coming off the surgery I had," he said. ... RHP Bud Norris walked six batters in a game for the second time in his career Sunday. "I wasn't very sharp," he said.

Los Angeles: IF Juan Uribe started at shortstop Sunday for the first time since May 4, 2011. Uribe had started 871 games at shortstop in his career but had started exclusively at third base (37 games) this season before Sunday. ... SS Dee Gordon (torn ligament in right thumb) told the Los Angeles Times that he will continue to slide head-first when he returns next month even though that's how he got hurt. The Dodgers' medical staff is working on getting braces for him.

Miami: CF Justin Ruggiano, hitting .378 through Sunday, was out of the lineup because manager Ozzie Guillen wanted to start Greg Dobbs, a left-handed hitter, against Nationals RHP Edwin Jackson. Guillen said Ruggiano, who hits right-handed, will start tonight against Cubs LHP Travis Wood. ... RF Giancarlo Stanton had the stitches removed from his right knee, on which he had arthroscopic surgery July 8. He's expected to return next month.

Milwaukee: RHP Zack Greinke won't start Wednesday's game as scheduled. Fox Sports reported that general manager Doug Melvin denied a trade was in the works and said Greinke was "recharging his batteries." Greinke has yielded 14 runs in 14 innings this month. ... RH closer John Axford, who has been shaky when trying to hold one-run leads, was given a three-run margin Sunday and allowed just one hit in converting his 16th save in 21 chances. Last season, Axford was 46-for-48 in save opportunities.

New York: LF Jason Bay (concussion) is expected to come off the disabled list today. Bay, who has been sidelined since June 16, went 2-for-4 with a walk and a stolen base in his second rehab game Sunday for Class AAA Buffalo. ... RH closer Frank Francisco (strained left side) remains shut down after he had a setback over the weekend. Francisco will need to restart his rehab assignment before the Mets will consider activating him from the disabled list.

Philadelphia: RF Hunter Pence's three-RBI game Sunday marked only the second time this season he has had at least three RBI in a game. He had four three-RBI games last September after being acquired from Houston in late July. ... Manager Charlie Manuel was matter-of-fact when I asked about LHP Cole Hamels' ability to not let swirling trade rumors and contract talks affect the way he pitches. "That's why he's good," Manuel said.

Pittsburgh: LHP Erik Bedard has mostly struggled since May, but GM Neal Huntington said there are no plans to remove him from the rotation. "Erik will get his legs under him," Huntington said. Bedard's next start is tonight. ... OF Alex Presley was activated from the seven-day concussion disabled list, as expected, and IF Matt Hague was sent down to Class AAA Indianapolis.

St. Louis: RH reliever Maikel Cleto was optioned to Class AAA Memphis, and RHP Trevor Rosenthal's contract was purchased from Class AA Springfield (Mo.). LHP Jaime Garcia was transferred from the 15-day to the 60-day disabled list to make room for Rosenthal on the 40-man roster. Rosenthal was 8-6 in 17 starts at Springfield but will work in relief, at least for a while. ... OFs Carlos Beltran and Jon Jay and 1B Lance Berkman were out of the lineup. Beltran and Jay were mired in slumps, and Berkman made his first start Sunday since he tore cartilage in his right knee on May 19.

San Diego: RH reliever Nick Vincent was called up from Class AAA Tucson, and RH reliever Miles Mikolas was sent down. Vincent allowed four runs in 4 2/3 innings with the Padres and has an 8.74 ERA at Tucson this year. ... RHP Jason Marquis on Sunday got his second win as a Padre after he was up most of the previous night with the stomach flu. "All I wanted to do was give us the best chance we had to win," said Marquis. "Get ahead and get out. The defense made some great plays behind me."

San Francisco: LF Melky Cabrera is expected to rejoin the Giants today in Atlanta. He missed Sunday's game to fly to Florida and attend the birth of his third child. ... How fast 1B/OF Aubrey Huff (sprained right knee) returns might be based on how well 1B Brandon Belt is hitting. Since Belt's 11-game hit streak, he's hitting .173 (8-for-46).

Washington: The Nationals went into Monday next to last in the NL in throwing out base stealers with a 17 percent success rate, but manager Davey Johnson said it's not because of their injury problems at catcher. "It's on the pitcher," he told The Washington Post. ... LF Michael Morse went into Monday hitting just .167 (2-for-12) since the All-Star break after getting at least one hit in 12 of 13 games before the respite.
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