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National League notebook -- Monday, June 18, 2012

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Arizona: The Diamondbacks are prepared to use SS Stephen Drew as a part-time starter when he returns, possibly later this month, manager Kirk Gibson said: "I told him awhile ago even if we could play him every third day but he was available off the bench, he would still be an asset to the team." ... OF Gerardo Parra was 2-for-18 while starting every game in the interleague road trip to Texas and Anaheim. A three-run homer in an 11-3 victory over Texas his big contribution. With the D-backs back home Monday and thus the DH no longer in effect, he was on the bench.

Atlanta: RHP Brandon Beachy's sore right elbow diagnosis might not be known until today because the Braves' lead orthopedist, Dr. Xavier Duralde, was in surgery all day Monday. Beachy, who already knows he has bone spurs in the elbow, was scheduled for a dye-contrast MRI, which reveals more but takes longer for recovery. That, among other reasons, is why he was placed on the disabled list. ... 1B Freddie Freeman (bruised left index finger) was again out of the lineup but hoped to return tonight. Freeman, who hasn't started a game since June 12, got two cortisone shots in the finger over the weekend.

Chicago: RHP Ryan Dempster, who has a 22-inning scoreless streak, was placed on the disabled list because of tightness in his right lat muscle, and LH reliever Scott Maine was recalled from Class AAA (Des Moines) Iowa. The Cubs say the ailment is not serious and that they simply are being cautious. Dempster said the injury started bothering him during his June 5 start at Milwaukee. RHP Randy Wells is scheduled to start Wednesday in Dempster's spot. ... C Geovany Soto was in the lineup after spending a month on the DL because of arthroscopic surgery on his left knee. The Cubs optioned C Welington Castillo to Iowa.

Cincinnati: 3B Scott Rolen (left shoulder) was activated from the disabled list, as expected, and was in the lineup, and IF-OF Kristopher Negron was optioned to Class AAA Louisville. Negron was 1-for-4 since being called up. ... Manager Dusty Baker would not take questions about his feud with Indians RHP Derek Lowe. Baker and Lowe exchanged harsh words through the media when the Indians and Reds played in Cincinnati last week.

Colorado: 1B Todd Helton's average has been below .250 since May 14. It dipped to .212 on May 21, but Helton then went 15-for-44 to raise his average to .247 on June 8. Since then, Helton, who is hitting .242 for the season, has since gone 4-for-20 (.200) but with one double, two homers, five RBI and four runs scored. ... IF Chris Nelson has started the last seven games at second base and struck out at least once in each game. Nelson is 5-for-23 (.217) in those games but has one triple, two homers, five RBI and two runs scored as well as 10 strikeouts.

Houston: RHP Lance McCullers, the Astros' supplemental-round pick (No. 41 overall) in the draft last week, agreed to a $2.5 million bonus, nearly twice the recommended value for that slot. The son of the former major league pitcher of the same name also had a scholarship offer from Florida. ... LHP Dallas Keuchel said his stuff felt better in his major league debut Sunday than it ever did in the minor leagues this season. "I felt comfortable with every pitch, which I haven't really felt that way this year," he said. "It's a good sign of improvement."

Los Angeles: RHP Aaron Harang's start tonight will be the first time since 2003 that he has pitched in Oakland, where he began his major league career. "It will be fun to go back there and pitch," he said. ... IF/OF Jerry Hairston Jr. is hitless in his last 17 at-bats though he has walked six times during that span. Hairston's slump began one day after he hit a home run and two doubles against the Mariners on June 9 and had a career-high five RBI.

Miami: RH reliever Steve Cishek will realize a childhood dream tonight. It will be the first time the Falmouth, Mass., native has walked on the field at Fenway Park as a player. "It's going to be insane," said Cishek. "It's what you dream about when you're a kid is being a hitter or pitcher at Fenway Park. Just walking on the field will probably just give me goose bumps." ... 2B Omar Infante is expected to return to the lineup tonight. He didn't start Sunday because of a slump -- 2 hits in his last 28 at-bats, including 0-for-7 with four strikeouts Saturday. "I've been swinging at bad pitches. I'm not reading the ball," he said.

Milwaukee: RHP Shaun Marcum was scratched from his scheduled start tonight against his former club, the Toronto Blue Jays, because of elbow soreness. Manager Ron Roenicke expressed hope that Marcum would not have to miss more than one start and wasn't sure who would pitch in his place. ... RHP Zack Greinke has a 3-2 record and 5.07 ERA in eight starts on the road compared to 4-0, 1.08 in six starts at Miller Park. "I left too many balls over the plate," he said after giving up four runs and 11 hits in eight innings Sunday at Minnesota.

New York: SS Ruben Tejada restarted a rehab assignment Monday with high-A St. Lucie (Port St. Lucie, Fla.). Tejada, who has been on the disabled list since May 7 with a right quad strain, made it all the way to Class AAA Buffalo earlier this month before having a setback. ... SS Ronny Cedeno continued his rehab at Buffalo but is still not ready to join the Mets. Cedeno, who would have been the top choice to fill in for Tejada had he been healthy, has been out since May 27 with a left calf strain.

Philadelphia: CF Shane Victorino went 2-for-2 in stolen base attempts over the weekend. Before Friday, Victorino had gone 23 straight games without a stolen base attempt. Victorino, who has 15 stolen bases this season, swiped 13 bags in his first 42 games of the season. ... LH reliever Antonio Bastardo should be able to return to active duty tonight. Bastardo has been unavailable for the last four games after he was cut above his left eye in a weight room mishap.

Pittsburgh: RH reliever Evan Meek has made strides with Class AAA Indianapolis, GM Neal Huntington said. Meek, a 2010 All-Star who has since struggled with shoulder issues, is back up to 93-96 mph on the gun. He needs to be at that speed for optimal movement. ... 3B Stetson Allie, the Pirates' $2.25 million second-round pick from two years ago who was recently converted from pitching, had an exceptional debut as a position player: He went 2-for-3 with a triple, RBI and walk in a rookie-level game in Bradenton, Fla. He also committed an error.

St. Louis: RHP Shelby Miller, the Cardinals' top pick in the 2009 draft, has struggled at Class AAA Memphis with a 4-6 record and 6.00 ERA. As a result, he has been told not to shake off a catcher's signs anymore to go to his high-octane fastball. The organization wants him to work more on his breaking pitches. ... RH reliever Maikel Cleto has been told he will return to Class AAA Memphis. This means the Cardinals will drop back to 12 pitchers again.

San Diego: LF Carlos Quentin had been hit by five pitches over the last 11 games through Sunday, raising his career total to 102 -- a rate of once every 24.4 plate appearances. The rate this year was one HBP every 12.9 plate appearances. "A lot of it has to do with the way I try to get away from pitches," Quentin said. "My first priority is to protect my hands. I don't move my body quite as quick. I expect to get hit because of that." ... RH reliever Luke Gregerson had given up four homers over his last 14 appearances (12 1/3 innings) through Sunday. He gave up only two homers over 55 2/3 innings last season.

San Francisco: 3B Pablo Sandoval was the No. 2 hitter Sunday for the first time this year and third time in his career. Manager Bruce Bochy wanted Sandoval to get better hitting opportunities as the No. 2 hitter, the reason he earlier had moved SS Brandon Crawford to the second slot. ... RH reliever Sergio Romo took the loss Sunday after being charged with his second earned run of the season. His ERA went from 0.50, lowest among NL relievers (minimum 17 innings), to 1.00. Before Sunday, he had been unscored upon in 23 of 24 games this year and in 52 of his last 54 outings dating to last year.

Washington: RH closer Drew Storen plans to stay with the team, instead of rehabbing in Florida, as he recovers from right elbow surgery. Storen is expected to return after the All-Star break but said he would like to try to pitch the week before the break if given the green light. ... Manager Davey Johnson will keep the rotation as is and not rest anyone even though the Nationals were off Thursday and Monday. RHP Chien-Ming Wang, RHP Stephen Strasburg and LHP Gio Gonzalez are the scheduled starters for the three-game series against Tampa Bay that begins tonight.
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