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National League notebook -- Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The SportsXchange

Arizona: RHP Trevor Cahill, 2-5 with a 3.96 ERA, has given up nine runs in the first inning and 18 in his other 51 1/3 innings. The Giants got three of their four runs against him in the first inning Monday. ... Four D-backs runners were caught stealing, three when they were picked off first base, and another runner was doubled off first base on an infield lineout in the last three games through Monday. "It's my responsibility to have the ballclub playing better than that. That's my fault," manager Kirk Gibson said.

Atlanta: RHP Kris Medlen was sent to Class AAA Gwinnett (Lawrenceville, Ga.) to get stretched out in preparation to join the Braves' faltering rotation. He is scheduled for three starts, beginning with 60 pitches. His return to the Braves as a starter is not guaranteed if he doesn't pitch well or if the current rotation snaps out of its collective funk. ... LH reliever Jonny Venters' pitches have been going sideways instead of up and down, and the reason appears to be a hitch in his mechanics. He's tinkering with the positioning of his hand.

Chicago: C Steve Clevenger (strained muscle in right side) came off the disabled list, and C Blake Lalli was sent to Class AAA (Des Moines) Iowa. Manager Dale Sveum said Clevenger and Koyie Hill will share catching duties while Geovany Soto rehabs from getting his knee scoped. ... LF Alfonso Soriano hit his seventh home run of the season, and all have come in May. He has been a notoriously streaky home run hitter throughout his career. "I think when I get my swing back, it's hard to stop," he said. "Sometimes it takes me long to find out my swing."

Cincinnati: 1B Joey Votto was leading the major leagues in doubles with 21 going into Tuesday, and that's no accident. Votto thinks he overemphasized home runs last year after hitting 37 in 2010. "I tried to switch my approach in general. I thought I was a home run hitter," he said. "... That got me into big trouble." ... RH reliever Alfredo Simon had allowed only one earned run over his last 17 1/3 innings through Monday, when he threw three scoreless innings.

Colorado: SS Troy Tulowitzki has an eight-game hitting streak, one shy of his season high, and is 13-for-32 (.406) with three doubles, four homers, 11 RBI and nine runs scored in this span. He has homered in four of the eight games, and in six of the games he has scored at least one run and had at least one RBI. ... 1B Todd Helton started both games of Monday's doubleheader and played them in their entirety. It was the first time he started both games of a doubleheader since Aug. 16, 2009, at Florida.

Houston: RHP Jordan Lyles was optioned to Class AAA Oklahoma City after giving up six runs (four earned) Monday. It's the third time since April 30 that Lyles has been sent to Oklahoma City, where he is 5-0 with a 3.54 ERA. ... C Jason Castro has only a .212 average and 12 RBI, but he's batting .409 (9-for-22) with runners in scoring position, best of any player on the team with at least 10 at-bats in that situation.

Los Angeles: CF Matt Kemp (left hamstring) was activated from the disabled list, and OF-1B Jerry Sands was optioned to Class AAA Albuquerque. The Dodgers were 9-5 during Kemp's absence. ... RHP Nathan Eovaldi was recalled from Class AA Chattanooga (Tenn.) to start in place of injured LHP Ted Lilly. Eovaldi last started for the Dodgers on Sept. 3, 2011.

Miami: RH reliever Juan Carlos Oviedo, serving an eight-week suspension for using a fake name, said the Marlins can expect the same pitcher who had 92 saves for them over the last three years. "I'm just going to be the same because it's still me. It's my arm that pitches," he said. "With my name, JC Oviedo, I'm the same guy, It's the same arm." ... 1B Gaby Sanchez had at least one hit in eight of his first nine games for Class AAA New Orleans after he was optioned there on May 20 because of a .197 average. However, he had only one hit in seven of those games and two hits in the other. He was batting .300 in that span.

Milwaukee: C Martin Maldonado was called up from Class AAA Nashville and will be the Brewers' primary catcher after X-rays showed that C Jonathan Lucroy has a broken right hand. Lucroy, who was placed on the disabled list and will be out 4-6 weeks, told MLB.com that he was reaching for a sock under the bed in his hotel room, and his wife accidentally caused a suitcase to fall on his hand. The Brewers' other catcher, George Kottaras, has a sore hamstring. ... RHP Michael Fiers was called from Nashville to start Tuesday's game, and RH reliever Mike McClendon was sent down.

New York: RH reliever Manny Acosta, who had an 11.86 ERA and had averaged more than two baserunners per inning, was designated for assignment, and RHP Chris Schwinden was called up from Class AAA Buffalo to replace him. Acosta had been one of the club's most consistent relievers the last two seasons, posting a 3.22 ERA in 85 appearances. ... RH reliever Jack Egbert made his Mets debut and recorded the final two outs of the ninth inning. It was his first big-league appearance since April 24, 2009, when he pitched for the White Sox.

Philadelphia: RHP Roy Halladay (right lat) was placed on the disabled list and is expected to miss six to eight weeks. C Erik Kratz, who had just been sent down, was recalled from Class AAA Lehigh Valley (Allentown, Pa.) to provide insurance for C Carlos Ruiz, who was out of the lineup for the second straight day because of a sore right hamstring. ... RHP Vance Worley, Halladay's possible replacement in the rotation, threw a bullpen session to test his sore elbow and has another one scheduled for Friday. The Phillies then will decide whether to plug him right into the rotation.

Pittsburgh: SS Clint Barmes, batting .170, was told he'll be out of the lineup for a few days to "work on some things," manager Clint Hurdle said. Barmes had struck out 39 times and walked just twice in 141 plate appearances through Monday. ... SS Jordy Mercer was promoted from Class AAA Indianapolis -- his first time in the majors -- after leading the Pirates' top affiliate with a .303 average, and OF Yamaico Navarro was sent down. Hurdle said Mercer will mostly back up for now but didn't rule out a bigger role. "This is just a dream come true," Mercer said.

St. Louis: 1B Matt Adams' great start and large physique have inspired a clamor to give him a nickname. Fox Sports Midwest conducted a fan poll to get suggestions. ... 3B David Freese (right wrist) sat out a second straight start. Freese said this wrist issue is not related to the one that sidelined him briefly earlier in the season.

San Diego: CF Cameron Maybin (right wrist) was out of the lineup for the third straight game. "It's not going to get any worse," manager Bud Black said. "We've just got to let it calm down." ... Since winning his first two games with the Padres and having a 0.90 ERA, RHP Jeff Suppan is 0-3 with a 7.40 ERA in his last four starts. Suppan has given up more runs in each of his six starts -- 0-1-2-4-5-6.

San Francisco: 2B Freddy Sanchez won't play third base if he resumes his rehab. Earlier, he was working out at third to possibly fill in for 3B Pablo Sandoval, but Sandoval is due back from the DL long before Sanchez could make a comeback. Sanchez remains in limbo with a back issue, though he's rehabbing from shoulder surgery, and might not play at all in 2012. "That's a possibility," manager Bruce Bochy said. ... Bochy compared LF Melky Cabrera to one of his former players, Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn. "That's how well (Cabrera) has played," Bochy said.

Washington: C Jhonatan Solano was called up from Class AAA Syracuse. The Nationals already have two catchers on the disabled list, and C Jesus Flores is nursing a right hamstring injury. Solano hit .250 with no homers and two RBI in 13 games for Syracuse this season. ... RHP Jordan Zimmermann hit his first major league home run in Monday's 5-3 loss in Miami. It was his first home run since college.
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