National League team-by-team notebook -- Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

Arizona: 2B Aaron Hill and LF Jason Kubel were given a start off Wednesday, when the D-backs played their 26th game in 27 days since the All-Star break. IF Willie Bloomquist made his first start of the season at second base after making only one there last year. ... C Henry Blanco underwent successful surgery to repair a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his left thumb, the D-backs announced. The surgery, performed by team specialist Dr. Don Sheridan, is likely to keep Blanco out for the rest of the season.

Atlanta: RHP Tommy Hanson, on the disabled list because of a lower back strain, has been playing catch this week and hopes to throw a bullpen session Friday. "It's good. I don't feel anything anymore," he told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, adding that he hadn't taken pain medication since last weekend. ... Manager Fredi Gonzalez said the Braves might use a six-man rotation if Hanson returns when he's eligible on Aug. 15. Friday's game starts a stretch of 20 games in 20 days.

Chicago: CF Brett Jackson was not in the lineup for the first time since Sunday, when he was called up from Class AAA (Des Moines) Iowa. The Cubs sat the left-handed hitter, who was 2-for-11 with eight strikeouts in his first three games, against Padres LHP Clayton Richard. ... 3B Josh Vitters, also called up from Iowa on Sunday, was back in the lineup. He recorded his first major league hit, a two-run double, as a pinch hitter Tuesday night.

Cincinnati: 1B Joey Votto slid for the first time since injuring his knee last month. Votto ran the bases and went through agility drills before sliding twice on a pad. "I've still got a way to go," he said. "Basic stuff. I'm not ready." ... C Devin Mesoraco, on the seven-day disabled list for concussions, is expected to be activated today.

Colorado: SS Josh Rutledge set career highs with four hits and three RBI Tuesday, giving him 18 RBI in 22 major league games. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the only other player in Rockies history to drive in at least 18 runs in his first 22 major league games was Jeff Baker, who had 20 spanning the 2005 and 2006 seasons. ... Victories at Los Angeles on Monday and Tuesday gave the Rockies road wins on consecutive days for the first time this season.

Houston: OF Brandon Barnes had 2,976 plate appearances in the Astros organization before making his major league debut Tuesday. "There were a couple points in my career when I just wanted to shut it down," Barnes said. "I felt like this might not be the game for me. ... I just kept going. My wife pushed me, my family pushed me and told me I can do it." ... The Astros' bullpen had a 1.53 ERA in the last five games through Tuesday, but the team lost again to fall to 0-11 in extra innings.

Los Angeles: 3B Juan Uribe had played in just one in the Dodgers' last 12 games through Tuesday and had only three at-bats in the last 17 days. The Dodgers are planning to activate Adam Kennedy from the disabled list Friday, which will push Uribe even further down the infield pecking order. ... LH reliever Scott Elbert continues to throw as he rehabs from left elbow inflammation, but he will likely need an extra week before he is activated. Elbert would have been eligible to be activated Friday.

Miami: 2B Emilio Bonifacio (left thumb) will not need surgery, as previously feared, and the team expects him to return to action Aug. 19 when he is eligible to come off the disabled list. Doctors said two pins installed during a May 25 surgery on the thumb are still intact. ... SS Jose Reyes has been playing despite jamming his right hand Friday. He has started wearing a thumb guard and said the thumb hurts more when he bats right-handed.

Milwaukee: LH reliever Manny Parra, out for two weeks because of a sore shoulder without being placed on the disabled list, threw a simulated game. If he has no discomfort today, Parra is expected to be available this weekend. ... SS Jean Segura recorded his first major league hit in the fifth inning with an infield single. In one game with the Angels and three with the Brewers, Segura was 0-for-11 before the hit.

New York: LHP Johan Santana threw a bullpen session without issue, keeping him on track to return to the rotation Saturday. Santana, who has been on the disabled list since July 21 with a sprained right ankle, is 3-5 with a 6.54 ERA since throwing his first career no-hitter June 1 against the Cardinals. ... LF Jason Bay, mired in a seasonlong slump, was out of the lineup, as expected against a right-handed pitcher. Manager Terry Collins told Bay after Tuesday's game that he would no longer start regularly against right-handed pitching.

Philadelphia: LF Domonic Brown, trying to show the Phillies that he's ready to play full-time, turned heads Tuesday with his howitzer-like throw from the left-field corner to get Braves C Brian McCann at second base. "Awesome. For him to turn on a dime and let it fly and be as accurate as he was, that's definitely a stopper and a momentum changer," LHP Cole Hamels said. ... SS Jimmy Rollins was hitting .209 since the All-Star break through Wednesday, but 10 of his 19 hits had gone for extra bases.

Pittsburgh: LH reliever Jeff Locke was recalled from Class AAA Indianapolis and OF Alex Presley was sent down, but Locke's stay could be brief. The Pirates wanted to have someone in the bullpen who could pitch multiple innings in case RHP Kevin Correia, who made a spot start Wednesday night against Arizona, was unable to pitch deep into the game. ... RH reliever Jason Grilli's velocity was down noticeably Tuesday, when he failed to retire any of the four batters he faced. Grilli threw 10 fastballs and their average speed was 92.84 mph, according to, well below his season average of 94.55 mph. Manager Clint Hurdle said Grilli's velocity has been down in other games this season and he is not concerned.

St. Louis: SS Rafael Furcal, who missed six recent starts out of eight and five in a row because of a lower back problem, got a hit and a walk in Monday's win over the Giants and had another hit on Tuesday although he failed twice with runners in scoring position. Manager Mike Matheny isn't convinced Furcal is all right yet. "He's in kind of a spot where it's the same," said Matheny. "Doctors are continuing to look at him and see what other options they have to kind of get him over the hump. He's moving well defensively, but he can certainly feel it in his swings. It doesn't seem to be getting worse, either, so they're still trying to figure it out."

San Diego: RHP Edinson Volquez says the blister on the thumb of his pitching hand will not prevent him from making his scheduled start Friday. The blister bothered Volquez on Saturday, when he allowed four runs on two hits and four walks in 1 2/3 innings. ... RH reliever Luke Gregerson and RH closer Huston Street on Tuesday worked back-to-back scoreless innings for the ninth straight time they've appeared in tandem. Gregerson extended his scoreless-inning streak to 15 1/3 innings, and Street's was at 20 1/3 innings.

San Francisco: LF Melky Cabrera and the Giants have put off contract talks until after the season, reported. The two sides met a few weeks ago, according to the report, but Cabrera likely will want to see what he's worth on the open market after what's turning out to be a career year. ... The Giants' new closer-by-committee is composed of LH relievers Jeremy Affeldt and Javier Lopez and RH reliever Sergio Romo. Before Affeldt got a four-out save Tuesday, the former closer, RH reliever Santiago Casilla, warmed up in the sixth inning.

Washington: RF Jayson Werth (leg tightness) was back in the lineup after missing one start. Werth pinch-hit in the eighth and singled Tuesday, showing no ill effects. ... RHP Chien-Ming Wang (hip soreness) lasted only 4 2/3 innings Tuesday and gave up seven runs, six earned, on seven hits in a rehab outing for Class AA Harrisburg (Pa.). It was his third loss in five rehab starts, and Wang has surrendered 13 runs in his last three outings.

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