National League team-by-team notebook -- Monday, September 24, 2012

The SportsXchange

Arizona: 3B Chris Johnson (hand) was held out of lineup being hit by a pitch and removed from the game the day before. X-rays were negative. Johnson was hitting .407 since Aug. 31 and had 34 RBI in 41 games through Sunday since being acquired from Houston on July 30. ... C Miguel Montero had started 20 consecutive games, a franchise record for catchers, before sitting out Sunday's game and had reached base safely in all 20 while hitting .382 with six doubles and 14 RBI. Montero was back in the lineup Monday.

Atlanta: SS Andrelton Simmons will have to show manager Fredi Gonzalez in the remaining nine games that neither his sore ankle nor his sore shoulder will prevent him from making the kinds of plays the Braves need to have from him. Otherwise, Gonzalez can't chance having him on the postseason roster. ... RHP Tim Hudson will most likely pitch simulated innings on the final day of the regular season, Oct. 3. That would have been his final scheduled start, but Gonzalez wants to save Hudson for Game 1 of the Division Series if the Braves qualify.

Chicago: CF Brett Jackson has joined his fellow rookie, 3B Josh Vitters, on the bench lately. Jackson, who came up from Class AAA (Des Moines) Iowa along with Vitters on Aug. 5, has not started the last four games. Jackson is batting .168 with 54 strikeouts in 107 at-bats. ... RH reliever Jaye Chapman has put himself into the mix for a bullpen spot next year. Chapman, obtained from the Braves in the trade for LHP Paul Maholm and OF Reed Johnson has pitched scoreless baseball in eight of his first 10 outings.

Cincinnati: The Reds adjusted their rotation for the second time in a week. RHP Johnny Cueto will start tonight's game, not Mike Leake. The Reds are skipping him to keep the rest of the rotation on turn with Monday's off day. ... 1B Joey Votto has reached base in exactly half of his plate appearances (34 of 68) since returning from the disabled list. He has walked 17 times in the 17 games back.

Colorado: C Wilin Rosario had his fourth straight three-hit game Sunday. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Rosario is the only player in Rockies history to have three or more hits in each of four straight games. The only other major-leaguer to do that this season is Angels RF Torii Hunter from Aug. 29 to Sept. 1. ... RH closer Rafael Betancourt went into Monday without a save since Sept. 14 and had pitched twice in that span just to get work. He had been scored upon twice in his last 22 games.

Houston: 2B Jose Altuve was not in the lineup. He left Sunday's game with an aggravation of the groin injury that forced him to miss three games earlier this month. ... SS Jed Lowrie has 15 home runs this season despite missing two months because of a leg injury. Dickie Thon hit 20 home runs in 1983 and holds the record. Overall, Astros shortstops have hit 23 home runs, a team record.

Los Angeles: SS Hanley Ramirez fouled a ball off his left shin in the seventh inning Sunday, and though he briefly remained the game and singled in that at-bat, he was removed for a pinch runner after limping to first base. Ramirez had X-rays on his leg, which were negative, and he expects to play tonight. ... C A.J. Ellis on Sunday ended an 0-for-30 skid, the longest such streak in his career. He joked with reporters after the game, asking, "Don't you want to talk about my hit?"

Miami: Owner Jeffrey Loria is angry at Ozzie Guillen over comments the manager made about him recently and they might lead to his firing, the Palm Beach Post reported. The newspaper reported that Loria did not appreciate being "called out" by Guillen on Friday. "If Jeffrey doesn't think I'm doing the job I should do ... it's not the first time he's fired a manager," Guillen said. ... RH reliever Heath Bell, removed from the closer role by Guillen earlier this season, criticized Guillen in a radio interview. "It's hard to respect a guy that doesn't tell you the truth or doesn't tell you face-to-face," Bell said.

Milwaukee: 3B Aramis Ramirez became only the second player in franchise history to reach 50 doubles in a season on Monday. 1B Lyle Overbay set the record with 53 doubles in 2004. The Brewers have nine games remaining for Ramirez to try to eclipse that mark. ... CF Carlos Gomez was back in the lineup after not starting on Sunday. Gomez has been battling a quad strain and bruised foot, but manager Ron Roenicke said he expects him to be able to continue playing.

New York: RH closer Frank Francisco remains sidelined with right elbow tendinitis, but the Mets are not ready to shut him down for the season. Noting that there is nothing structurally wrong with Francisco's elbow, manager Terry Collins said Francisco will pitch if and when his symptoms subside. ... RHP R.A. Dickey's 209 strikeouts are the most by a Mets pitcher since David Cone fanned 214 batters in 1992. Dickey is only the fifth pitcher in franchise history to throw at least 220 innings and strike out at least 200 men in a season.

Philadelphia: RH closer Jonathan Papelbon struck out two Braves on Sunday to bring his season total to 85. His career high is 87, set in 64 1/3 innings last season with the Red Sox. He has pitched 66 2/3 innings this year for the Phils. ... 2B Chase Utley has had at least one RBI in six of the last nine games and 11 overall in that span.

Pittsburgh: RHP Jeff Karstens is expected to make one more start before the season ends. Karstens has not started since leaving in the first inning at Milwaukee on Aug. 31 because of left hip soreness. ... IF Josh Harrison made just his second start since Sept. 7 when he played second base Sunday tied a career high in hits by going 4-for-6. Harrison started seven straight games from Aug. 27 to Sept. 2 but has been basically glued to the bench since. IF Brock Holt, a rookie, has gotten most of the starts at second base while Neil Walker has dealt with lower back pain.

St. Louis: C Yadier Molina and LF Matt Holliday, both bothered by back problems, both were in the lineup. Holliday came out of the game in the ninth inning Sunday. "The longer he was in the outfield, the more it got him," manager Mike Matheny said. ... After RHP Adam Wainwright admitted kissing RF Carlos Beltran on the cheek following a game-tying homer Saturday and said he wanted to kiss him on the mouth, a teammate had a little fun with it. "No kissing teammates on the mouth," was the message on the dry erase board in the clubhouse Sunday.

San Diego: If LHP Clayton Richard, who starts Wednesday against the Dodgers, wins one of his final two starts, he will be the first Padre to reach 15 wins since RHP Jake Peavy won 19 games during his Cy Young Award-winning season of 2007. ... CF Cameron Maybin's is up to .251 -- the first time since April 8 it has been above .250. Maybin is hitting .389 since Aug. 19.

San Francisco: 1B Aubrey Huff, who has gotten only 85 plate appearances this season because of slumps and injuries, is 5-for-9 with two walks since coming off the disabled list Sept. 1. He could be a valuable left-handed bat off the bench if he makes the playoff roster. ... RH reliever Sergio Romo is 12-for-13 in save chances. His 1.89 ERA is fourth lowest among NL relievers, and his 5.90 career strikeout-to-walk ratio is tops.

Washington: LF Michael Morse was not in the lineup because of a sore wrist. Manager Davey Johnson said Morse came in for treatment after the game Sunday and he was "going to stay off of him." ... SS Ian Desmond stole his 20th base of the season to become a member of the 20-20 club. He already has hit a career-high 24 homers this season.
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