National League team-by-team notebook -- Monday, October 1, 2012

The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

Arizona: 3B Chris Johnson (left hand) returned to the lineup after missing the previous seven games. He was hit by a pitch in Colorado on Sept. 23. ... 1B Paul Goldschmidt (back) returned to the lineup for the first time since tweaking his back during batting practice Friday. "The trainers said it was just random -- you move one way and it stiffens up," Godschmidt said.

Atlanta: 3B Chipper Jones was in the lineup for the seventh straight game, two more than his previous season high. He played all six games of the homestand that ended Sunday because he knew so many people were traveling to see him play his final regular-season games at Turner Field, and Monday he wanted to keep playing as long as there is a chance of winning the division. ... 2B Dan Uggla was scratched from the lineup as a precaution after his right hand swelled a little. He's been playing with three metal staples on his right index knuckle after cutting it on a champagne bottle in the celebration after the Braves clinched a playoff berth.

Chicago: LF Alfonso Soriano is the Cubs' MVP for the season, manager Dale Sveum said. "It would have to be Sori just because we struggled for the most part to score runs, and he's been, thank God, one entity to the puzzle that's been pretty consistent all year long," Sveum said. ... SS Starlin Castro made his 159th start at short, surpassing the single-season franchise mark of 158 set by Ivan DeJesus (1978) and Don Kessinger (1968). Castro is seeking to become the first player in franchise history to appear in all 162 games at shortstop.

Cincinnati: LF Ryan Ludwick (left groin) was in the lineup for the first time since Sept. 19. He had been in the lineup Sunday but was scratched after it rained before the game. ... RHP Mike Leake is hitting .305, best of any pitcher with 10 or more at-bats. He's tied for the NL lead in home runs by pitchers, with two. Leake would be the first Reds pitcher to win the Silver Slugger Award.

Colorado: CF Rafael Ortega on Sunday became the third-youngest player in Rockies history to make his major league debut. Ortega was 21 years, 138 days. RHP Marcos Carvajal was 20 years, 230 days in 2005 and 2B Roberto Mejia was 21 years, 92 days in 1993 when they made their major league debuts. ... 3B Chris Nelson made the first start of his career batting third. His other starts this season have come batting fifth (14 times), sixth (19), seventh (30), eighth (21) and ninth (2, in interleague play).

Houston: CF Brandon Barnes has become a regular on highlight shows with his spectacular diving catches despite not being a regular in the lineup. "He really impresses everybody," interim manager Tony DeFrancesco said. "We're all big fans of him, a guy who just grinded it out through the minor leagues, was a six-year free agent twice and started the year in Double-A. Defensively, I don't think there's anybody better out there." ... RHP Jordan Lyles had the game of his life Sunday, throwing a four-hit shutout for his first career complete game and also hitting a 418-foot home run. But then he had to dress up for the team's annual rookie hazing. "Astros win, a home run and Speedo time," he said.

Los Angeles: RHP Josh Beckett has a 2.93 ERA with 38 strikeouts and 10 unintentional walks in eight starts (43 innings) since joining the Dodgers, yet his victory Sunday was only his second with the team. It was the fourth time in his last seven starts that Beckett allowed one earned run. ... 1B Adrian Gonzalez led the Dodgers in batting average (.314), on-base percentage (.360), hits (33), doubles (nine), and runs batted in (15) in September, his first full month with the team.

Miami: RHP Josh Johnson (hamstring) was scratched from his start and will not pitch again this season. Johnson pitched 191 1/3 innings this year, 130 more than his injury-filled 2011 season. ... LHP Mark Buehrle has not allowed more than 61 walks in any of his last 12 seasons. He has issued 40 walks this year in 202 1/3 innings. The only other pitcher in baseball history to log at least 200 innings in 12 straight seasons with fewer than 65 walks in each year was Cy Young.

Milwaukee: RF Norichika Aoki finished September with 18 extra-base hits, matching the club record established by 1B George Scott in 1975 and equaled by 1B Corey Hart in 2007. ... Brewers pitchers went into Monday needing 26 strikeouts over the final three games to match the major league record of 1,404 strikeouts, set by the Chicago Cubs in 2003.

New York: All six members of the coaching staff will return in 2013, the team announced. That group includes pitching coach Dan Warthen, who came aboard alongside former manager Jerry Manuel in 2008, and hitting coach Dave Hudgens. The other returning coaches are Tim Teufel (third base), Tom Goodwin (first base), Bob Geren (bench) and Ricky Bones (bullpen). ... RHP R.A. Dickey said he will treat Adam Greenberg "like a big leaguer" when Greenberg signs a one-day contract with the Marlins and faces him tonight. Greenberg is expected to come to the plate for the first time since being hit in the head with a pitch during his big-league debut in 2005.

Philadelphia: SS Jimmy Rollins (right calf) was out of the lineup but said it was merely precautionary. He tweaked his calf on a pickoff play Sunday. ... RH reliever Tyson Brummett, who was keeping his arm loose at his offseason home in Utah in preparation for winter ball, was caught off guard when he was called up to the Phillies. "My wife and I were on the way to the coffee shop and (player development director Joe Jordan) gave me the news: 'Hey, you want to come help us out at the big-league level in the bullpen?' " Brummett said. "And I said, 'Absolutely.' "

Pittsburgh: CF Andrew McCutchen may be fading in the NL Most Valuable Player and batting title races, but people are buying his replica jerseys. According to figures released by Major League Baseball, McCutchen jerseys are the sixth-best sellers since the All-Star break behind Derek Jeter, Josh Hamilton, Ichiro Suzuki, Bryce Harper and Mike Trout. ... Manager Clint Hurdle was coy when he was asked if demoted starter James McDonald will have to win a spot in the rotation in spring training next year. "We'll have to wait and see," Hurdle said. "A lot of things can happen."

St. Louis: RHP Lance Lynn improved to 18-7 on the mound Sunday, but his hitting drought reached 0-for-43. "It's been a long, long stretch. Nothing's working right now," he said. ... Rookie SS Pete Kozma, who has gotten to play late in the season because of Rafael Furcal's elbow injury, had his second straight three-hit game Sunday. "You hate to see a guy like (Furcal) go down, but you've got to make the best of it," Kozma said.

San Diego: RH closer Huston Street had a 0.75 ERA when he went on the disabled list Aug. 11. Since his return, he had allowed five runs on six hits -- including the first two homers he had allowed since August 2011 -- and three walks in three innings through Sunday. "I'm making as many good pitches as before," Street said. "I'm just getting beat on my mistakes. Before the injury, I was probably as sharp as I have ever been." ... 3B Chase Headley set a Petco Park record with his 51 home RBI in 2012 through Sunday. Headley's 31 homers to that point tied him with Fred McGriff (1991), Phil Nevin (2000) and Adrian Gonzalez (2010) for the 12th-highest mark in Padres history.

San Francisco: RHP Tim Lincecum said he's been told he'll be part of the Giants' playoff rotation even though he struggled in his final two starts. He was 3-10 with a 6.42 ERA in the first half of the season, 7-5 with a 3.83 ERA in the second half. ... RH reliever Shane Loux got his first win as a Giant on Sunday. It also was his first win in the majors since he won for the Angels on May 5, 2009.

Washington: C Kurt Suzuki made his 10th consecutive start but said he's not tired. Suzuki, who was hitting .218 when he was acquired from Oakland on Aug. 3, hit .300 in September. ... RH reliever Henry Rodriguez (elbow surgery) hopes to resume throwing by the end of November and be ready for spring training. Rodriguez told The Washington Post that he no longer has any pain in the elbow.

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