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National League team-by-team notebook -- Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The SportsXchange

Arizona: 1B Paul Goldschmidt was held out of the lineup for the first time since July 22 after playing 35 straight games, 33 hitting cleanup. He was 3 for his last 25. "I think he needs a beak. Give him a little mental break as well," manager Kirk Gibson said.... RF Justin Upton hit cleanup for the first time this season after multi-hit games in his last three since returning from a tight left hamstring. "I just feel a little better in general, a little more comfortable at the plate. I'm seeing a few good pitches to hit," he said.

Atlanta: LHP Paul Maholm has allowed 10 runs in his five starts as a Brave, all of them on home runs. He's given up six homers, the latest a two-run shot by Padres C Yasmani Grandal in the second inning Monday. ... SS Paul Janish had only one error in his first 188 defensive chances with the Braves and led NL shortstops with a .995 fielding percentage since the All-Star break.

Chicago: SS Starlin Castro, 22, and the Cubs agreed on a seven-year contract that guarantees him $60 million through 2019 with a club option for 2020. The deal covers Castro's four salary-arbitration years and his first three free agent seasons. "That's where I want to be -- here on this team for a long time and winning," he said. ... LH reliever Alex Hinshaw was designated for assignment, and RH reliever Blake Parker (elbow) was activated off the 60-day disabled list. Hinshaw gave up consecutive home runs Monday night to the Brewers' Ryan Braun, Aramis Ramirez and Corey Hart.

Cincinnati: 1B Joey Votto (left knee surgery) began a two-game rehab assignment at low-A Dayton (Ohio). The Reds wanted Votto to play five innings Tuesday and then more tonight if he feels up to it. ... LH closer Aroldis Chapman converted his 32nd save of the season and his 24th straight save opportunity Monday. The latter is a club record.

Colorado: SS Troy Tulowitzki went 2-for-4 with a home run as the DH on Monday in his final rehab game for Class AA Tulsa, but he admitted he wasn't playing at full speed because he's concerned about re-injuring his surgically repaired left groin. There is no timetable for his return. ... The Rockies are 11-5 in starts by LHP Jeff Francis, who has allowed one run in 10 innings in his last two starts. Francis' six strikeouts Monday were the most he has had since he also struck out six on July 29, 2011 at Cleveland while pitching for the Royals.

Houston: RHP Lucas Harrell is just 3 1/3 innings short of his career-high innings count, established between Class AAA and the majors in 2010. The Astros have been talking about monitoring Harrell's innings since spring training and so far are OK with them. ... OF Jordan Schafer (separated left shoulder) has begun playing rehab games in the rookie-level Gulf Coast League and is expected to move to one of the Astros' full-season affiliates for a rehab stint later this week.

Los Angeles: LHP Ted Lilly was scratched from a rehab appearance with high-A Rancho Cucamonga (Calif.) on Monday after hurting his back lifting weights. Lilly, out since May 24 because of left shoulder soreness, is not expected to be ready to be activated at the beginning of September when rosters expand, as had previously been planned. ... LF Shane Victorino was moved to second in the batting order, his first time out of the leadoff spot in 24 games as a Dodger. Victorino had a .258 batting average and .314 on-base percentage with Los Angeles through Monday.

Miami: Manager Ozzie Guillen cautioned Marlins fans about expecting too much too soon from rookie C Rob Brantly. "I might get in trouble for this, but it's the truth. You will see mistakes. That's not his fault. That's my fault to play him and that's our fault to bring him here," Guillen said. ... SS Jose Reyes hit five homers in July and went into Tuesday with four in August. He had 11 on the season, matching his total from 2010. His single-season high is 19 in 2006.

Milwaukee: CF Carlos Gomez will get a chance to prove in the season's final weeks that he should play regularly, manager Ron Roenicke said, adding, "The offensive part is the part we've always wanted him to be more consistent, and that's what we still would like to see, a little more consistency." ... RHP Marco Estrada had no wins in his first 15 starts of the season. But Estrada has won each of his last two starts, both against the Chicago Cubs.

New York: 2B Daniel Murphy was back in the lineup after an MRI came up negative on his ailing right shoulder. Murphy, who injured himself swinging his bat in Sunday's game, is treating his shoulder with medication. ... RHP Collin McHugh will rejoin the rotation Sept. 3 in St. Louis, the Mets announced. McHugh was sent back to Class AAA Buffalo following his major league debut, in which he struck out nine batters over seven scoreless innings.

Philadelphia: 1B Darin Ruf went into Tuesday leading the minor leagues with 36 home runs, 18 this month, had 96 RBI and had already broken Greg Luzinski's record for total bases at Class AA Reading (Pa.). "Ruf is trying to hit his way to the big leagues. That's what it used to be like," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel told philly.com. "You had to do something to get to the big leagues. Evidently, Ruf is an old throwback." ... OF Domonic Brown was back in the lineup after missing two games because of a sore left knee.

Pittsburgh: LHP Erik Bedard, tied with Giants RHP Tim Lincecum for the major league lead in losses (14), was released, and IF Chase d'Arnaud was recalled from Class AAA Indianapolis. Bedard pitched just 4 2/3 innings in each of his last two starts, losing both, and worked seven innings in just five starts. ... 2B Neil Walker (back spasms) was not in the lineup for the second straight game.

St. Louis: RHP Kyle Lohse was 4 for 50 before his game-tying single in the fifth inning Monday. "I'm a little embarrassed about that," Lohse said of his .080 average to that point. "I'm a little better than that." ... 3B David Freese was back in the lineup for the first time since he was hit on the left wrist by a pitch Friday night.

San Diego: C Nick Hundley is scheduled to undergo surgery today to repair a tear in the meniscus of his right knee. Hundley was transferred him from the 15-day to the 60-day disabled list Monday. ... RHP Casey Kelly shut out the Braves for six innings Monday in his major league debut. "What I liked is he pitched with the fastball," manager Bud Black said. "The majority of his pitches were fastballs, in and out, in good spots."

San Francisco: RH reliever Guillermo Mota was activated after serving his 100-game suspension for a second violation of the MLB drug policy, and LH reliever Jeremy Affeldt was placed on the paternity leave list. There was some question whether the Giants would keep Mota in the wake of LF Melky Cabrera's positive drug test. ... Cs Buster Posey and Hector Sanchez went into Tuesday with a combined 93 RBI. That led the majors.

Washington: SS Ian Desmond (right hamstring) and LF Michael Morse (bruised right hand) returned to the lineup. Desmond was injured Aug. 22, and Morse had been out since getting hit on the right hand by a pitch Friday night. ... The injuries to Desmond and Morse resulted in 2B Steve Lombardozzi starting three games in a row over the weekend after getting just three at-bats in the previous six games. Manager Davey Johnson said Lombardozzi will be used as a left fielder, third baseman, shortstop or second baseman in a utility role down the stretch.

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