National League notebook -- Monday, May 14, 2012

The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

Arizona: Since sweeping a three-game series from San Francisco on the opening weekend of the season, the D-backs are 4-12 at home and have lost five straight home series. The D-backs had not lost five straight home series since June 5-29, 2006. ... Class AA Mobile (Ala.) 3B Matt Davidson, one of the organization's top prospects, was named the Southern League hitter of the week after batting .333 with three home runs and seven RBI for the week ending Sunday. Davidson's two-run, walk-off homer, his second homer of the game, beat Chattanooga in 10 innings Sunday. Davidson was hitting .318 with eight homers and 24 RBI this season.

Atlanta: CF Michael Bourn, a free agent at the end of the season, has gotten off to a good start, which plays right into the hands of his agent, Scott Boras. "(Braves GM) Frank (Wren) and I have talked. He knows he's got a good spot there and a good team," Boras told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "Our position is, when this thing is all said and done, I've got to believe this (Braves) ballclub is going to be a part of Michael's considerations, a strong part. There's just a lot of things there for him that work out very well." ... The Braves had lost seven straight at Busch Stadium in St. Louis before their three-game weekend sweep of the Cardinals.

Chicago: RHP Chris Volstad has been the weak link in the rotation and has been victimized by a big inning almost every time out. "How you fix that is the million-dollar question," manager Dale Sveum said. "That's having shut-down innings. It's funny how a guy has pitched just as many shutout innings as anybody in baseball, but that one inning isn't one (run). It's four, five and six in the inning." ... RF David DeJesus ranked fourth among NL leadoff hitters with a .369 on-base percentage going into Monday. He was 13-for-38 (.342) with a .444 OBP and a .605 slugging percentage over his 10 previous games.

Cincinnati: The Reds were second last in the NL in stolen bases with 15 going into Monday. However, they had been caught stealing only four times. "I always like to run," manager Dusty Baker said. "But you can't run into outs. Part of it is we don't have a bunch of base stealers, and part of it is it's about percentage of being safe more than the number. Early in the season, we weren't hardly hitting. If you don't get on base, how are you going to run?" ... 1B Joey Votto on Sunday became the first player in major league history to hit three home runs in a game, including a walk-off grand slam, according to Elias Sports Bureau. Votto had 14 total bases in the game, one short of the Reds' record (Walker Cooper, 15 in 1949).

Colorado: Even though C Eliezer Alfonzo's 100-game suspension for a positive drug test was dropped by Major League Baseball because of chain-of-command procedural issues, his future with the Rockies is uncertain. The Rockies outrighted Alfonzo to Class AAA Colorado Springs, where he is on the restricted list until he's able to obtain a visa to travel from Venezuela. When he's able to report, the Rockies will decide on his status. ... The Rockies have not won two consecutive games since their season-high three-game winning streak April 17-20. Their only other winning streak was two games on April 13-14. ... Nine of C Wilin Rosario's 12 hits before Monday had gone for extra bases (five doubles, four homers). However, he was hitting only .240, had 18 strikeouts in 50 at-bats and with runners in scoring position he was 1-for-13.

Houston: LHP Wandy Rodriguez is just 3-3 despite a 1.99 ERA. Sunday, he allowed just one baserunner after the first inning, and that runner was erased on a double play. He threw 72 strikes and 22 balls. "I tried to go quickly and throw strikes and get ahead in the count," he said. ... LF J.D. Martinez, stuck in a 1-for-35 slump, is expected to be back in the lineup today against Phillies LHP Cliff Lee, but not in the No. 3 spot. He was out of the lineup Monday against RHP Joe Blanton.

Los Angeles: CF Matt Kemp (left hamstring) was held out of the lineup, just the second time in 35 games Kemp has not started this season. The Dodgers were awaiting results of an MRI before deciding whether he needs to go on the disabled list. ... 3B Juan Uribe (left wrist) was placed on the disabled list, and IF-OF Elian Herrera's contract was purchased from Class AAA Albuquerque, where he was hitting .358. OF Trent Oeltjen was designated for assignment to create a 40-man roster spot for Herrera. ... SS Dee Gordon returned to the starting lineup after sitting Sunday following an 0-for-14 slump. Gordon batted leadoff even though he took a .250 on-base percentage into the game. "Dropping Dee in the order sounds really easy, but who do I hit there? I really don't have a leadoff guy," manager Don Mattingly said. "If I had an alternative, I'd consider it."

Miami: CF Emilio Bonifacio went into Monday batting .412 (7-for-17) from the seventh spot in the batting order after hitting .240 (14-for-114) in the second spot. Bonifacio said he recently studied video of his at-bats during a recent slump in hopes of improving his efforts to be more selective with pitches. "I was swinging at pitches out of the (strike) zone. Instead of it being 2-1, it was 1-2," he said. ... IF Greg Dobbs was 5-for-14 (.357) going into Monday after coming through again Sunday. That gave him a .263 career pinch-hit average, and his 79 career pinch hits was leading all active players.

Milwaukee: SS Alez Gonzalez's surgery to repair the torn ACL in his right knee was scheduled for Thursday. He was injured May 6, but surgeons had to wait until the swelling subsided. ... 2B Rickie Weeks (bruised left hand) is expected back in the lineup today after he didn't start for the third straight game Monday. "He probably wanted to play today, but he's not 100 percent," manager Ron Roenicke told reporters. "He may not be 100 percent tomorrow, but he's going to be pretty close. I thought one more day, just talking with (trainer) Dan Wright, is a better way to do it."

New York: RH closer Frank Francisco received a vote of confidence from manager Terry Collins, one day after Collins said he was considering making a change at closer. The Mets believe Francisco is tipping pitches and will allow him to remain at closer while he works out his issues. ... LF Jason Bay (fractured left rib) was examined by a team doctor and hopes to begin ramping up his activity soon. Bay has been on the disabled list since April 24 and has done nothing more strenuous than riding a stationary bike since then.

Philadelphia: LF Juan Pierre, new to the Phillies this season, is amused by all the negative talk about the team's poor start. "I hear all the commotion here, and I'm like, 'We ain't that bad, guys. I've been on teams that were a lot worse right now,' " he said. "But I know people get spoiled." ... SS Jimmy Rollins' home run Sunday was the 38th leadoff homer in his career and his first of any kind this season. The 34-game stretch without a home run was Rollins' longest to begin a season since 2004, when he didn't homer until his 40th game of the season. It also was only his sixth extra-base hit this season.

Pittsburgh: GM Neal Huntington said he doesn't plan any moves to acquire a hitter in the near future even though the Pirates rank last in the majors in nearly every offensive category. "There are very, very few trades of substance made in May," he said. "So our solutions are going to have to come internally unless we're willing to be less than intelligent and dramatically overpay." ... LF Alex Presley, the Pirates' leadoff man entering the season, was dropped to No. 6 in the order. He had been at No. 2 for two weeks, but his 3-for-32 stretch in that span cemented the next drop. "Maybe that will take a little load off him," manager Clint Hurdle said.

St. Louis: LH reliever J.C. Romero was released, and RH reliever Eduardo Sanchez was called up from Class AAA Memphis. Sanchez hadn't allowed a hit in his last five relief appearances, covering five innings. Romero had a 10.13 ERA for 11 games, and left-handed batters were hitting .353 against him in 17 at-bats. ... 1B-LF Allen Craig on Sunday took his first tour in the outfield after his November knee surgery, played all nine innings and felt no pain. He also smacked his fifth homer in the last seven games and boosted his RBI total to 16 in 10 games since coming off the disabled list.

San Diego: LHP Josh Spence was optioned to Class AAA Tucson, and RHP Tim Stauffer (elbow) was activated from the disabled list to make his season debut. Spence, 24, was 0-1 with a 4.35 ERA in 11 appearances since being promoted from Tucson on April 8. ... The 10 Padres on the disabled list are making about $24 million -- or roughly 40 percent of the Padres' total payroll. The disabled list includes the Padres' two highest-paid players, RH closer Huston Street ($7.5 million) and LF Carlos Quentin ($7.025 million).

San Francisco: C Buster Posey's surgically repaired left ankle is "a little cranky," according to manager Bruce Bochy, who left Posey out of the lineup Sunday. Posey, who was back in the lineup Monday, was hitting .167 in May going into the game. ... LHP Barry Zito has had quality starts in five of his seven outings this year. That's one more than he had in all of 2011, though he was limited to nine starts because of injuries.

Washington: RF Bryce Harper was in the lineup again, and the bandage over his left eye looked smaller than the one he wore Sunday. Harper needed 10 stitches to close a cut on his left temple Friday after he hit a wall with his bat and a piece splintered. Harper said he won't change the way he plays or reacts to at-bats because of the incident. ... RHP Chien-Ming Wang (left hamstring) had another positive rehab start for Class AAA Syracuse, going eight innings (90 pitches) and allowing four runs. Manager Davey Johnson said he expects Wang to make one more rehab start, and then the club will make a decision of where to place him in the rotation. Johnson said he will not consider a six-man rotation.

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