National League team-by-team notebook -- Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

Arizona: RH closer J.J. Putz was unable to pitch Tuesday because his back stiffened, and it had not improved Wednesday afternoon, manager Kirk Gibson said. RH reliever David Hernandez worked a scoreless ninth to save a 1-0 victory Tuesday. It was his third save of the season. ... RHP Trevor Bauer won his second playoff game for Class AAA Reno on Tuesday, beating Omaha 13-1 in the first game of the Pacific Coast League final. Gibson reiterated "it's a possibility" that Bauer could get another start in the majors this season.

Atlanta: SS Andrelton Simmons was out of the lineup Wednesday with a sprained ankle, sustained sliding back to the bag on a pickoff attempt in Tuesday's game. The Braves are off today, so Simmons hopes he can start Friday. ... RH reliever Julio Teheran says he was finally able to make a key adjustment -- holding his glove higher -- to become more consistent at the end of the minor league season. Having since joined the Braves, he will be throwing some simulated innings to stay in a routine in case he's needed for an emergency start.

Chicago: 1B Anthony Rizzo (stiff neck and upper back) was not in the lineup one night after colliding with Astros 1B Brett Wallace while running out a groundball. Rizzo, who landed near his right shoulder and left the game, is day-to-day. ... CF Brett Jackson (bruised right knee) did not start for the fifth straight game, but he might be able to play Friday when the Cubs return home.

Cincinnati: SS Zack Cozart, who has missed the last seven games after slightly straining a muscle in his left side, took grounders, hit off a tee and ran. Asked when he'd be back, he replied: "Hopefully sooner than later. Based on today, I would think sooner." ... 1B Joey Votto has played every game since coming back from knee surgery last week. "My knee's fine," he said.

Colorado: Manager Jim Tracy said Jordan Pacheco will likely catch Sunday's game. Pacheco has become the backup catcher to Wilin Rosario because C Ramon Hernandez is out with a strained left hamstring. ... IF Josh Rutledge made his second start at second base. He made his major league debut there Sept. 6 at Atlanta. Jonathan Herrera started at shortstop. He had started just one of the previous five games.

Houston: SS Jed Lowrie (right leg) was in the lineup for the first time since July 14. Lowrie is wearing a protective brace on his leg. ... OF J.D. Martinez has had a relapse of a problem he endured in 2011, though not as severe: The long season has cost him 15 pounds off his frame. "It's still an issue for me," said Martinez, who lost more than 20 pounds last year and said his strength was gone by the end. "But it's definitely better than it was last year."

Los Angeles: LHP Clayton Kershaw is the first Dodger to pitch 200 or more innings in three consecutive seasons since Orel Hershiser, who pitched five straight years of 200 innings or more in 1985-89. His seven innings Tuesday gave him a league-leading 206 2/3 innings this season. ... CF Matt Kemp moved back to the third spot in the batting order after eight games batting cleanup behind 1B Adrian Gonzalez. Kemp made his first 77 starts of the season batting third and hit .338 with 17 home runs and a .586 slugging percentage. Kemp was 4-for-33 in eight games batting fourth but was slowed by injuries.

Miami: RH relievers Steve Cishek and Tom Koehler both are getting married Nov. 10, so they can't attend each other's wedding. They are longtime friends, having worked their way together through the Marlins' farm system. Other Marlins getting married this fall: RH reliever Dan Jennings, OF Scott Cousins and IF Nick Green. ... RF Giancarlo Stanton went into Wednesday with 15 home runs since coming off the disabled list Aug. 7. That was the most in the NL in that span.

Milwaukee: C Martin Maldonado has been taking grounders at first base, and manager Ron Roenicke said he might get a start there against a lefty with 1B Corey Hart, also a right-handed hitter, sidelined by a foot injury. But Travis Ishikawa, who hits left-handed, started Wednesday against Braves LHP Paul Maholm. ... The Brewers, who established a franchise record with 57 wins at home last season, have rediscovered their Miller Park magic. Their win Tuesday was their eighth straight and 16th in the last 18 games at home.

New York: 2B Daniel Murphy was a late lineup scratch because of lower back soreness. Murphy said he woke up with the issue and fully expects to return Friday. "I probably could play, but we erred on the side of safety with this one," he said. ... OF Lucas Duda started at first base, and manager Terry Collins said he hopes to play Duda almost every day down the stretch. A natural first baseman, Duda began this season as the Mets' everyday right fielder. But since returning from a stint in the minors, he has played left field exclusively.

Philadelphia: 2B Chase Utley has reached base in 54 of his 62 starts this season. Utley is hitting .360 (9-for-25) in his last seven games. ... The Phillies were under .500 for 98 consecutive days before reaching the break-even mark Tuesday. "Being .500 has never made so much noise around here. But I'm glad that it can," SS Jimmy Rollins said.

Pittsburgh: RH reliever Jared Hughes issued a public statement denying that he used a racial slur toward Cincinnati 2B Brandon Phillips after hitting him with a pitch in Monday night's game. Phillips suggested on Twitter following the game and again during a pregame television interview on Tuesday that Hughes made a racial remark. ... The Pirates have their last scheduled day off of the season today. After that they'll play 20 games in 20 days.

St. Louis: RF Carlos Beltran was not in the lineup. Beltran, an All-Star, went into the game hitting .199 since July 1. ... LHP Jaime Garica will start Saturday as scheduled in Los Angeles despite his 6.19 road ERA, the Cardinals announced. ... RH reliever Edward Mujica, after 18 straight scoreless outings as a Cardinal, covering 17 innings, allowed his first run Tuesday.

San Diego: 1B Yonder Alonso's 34th double of the season Tuesday broke the Padres' rookie record of 33, set by Benito Santiago in 1987. It's the most doubles by a Padre since Brian Giles hit 40 in 2008. ... RHP Edinson Volquez's six walks Tuesday equaled his season high and pushed his NL-leading total to an even 100 in 165 2/3 innings, or 5.4 walks per nine innings. Ironically, Volquez won both games in which he issued six walks.

San Francisco: CF Angel Pagan (callous on left hand) was out of the lineup because the Giants, who are off today, wanted to give him two days off. He said the callous has been bothering him all season, and it bothers the switch hitter more when he hits left-handed. The Giants are in a stretch of facing four straight lefties. ... 3B Pablo Sandoval also was not in the lineup, but because of his recent slump both at the plate and in the field. "He's trying too hard," manager Bruce Bochy said.

Washington: 2B Danny Espinosa left the team to attend funeral services for his grandmother, The Washington Post reported. The team hopes he can return Friday. ... LF Michael Morse was not in the lineup because of a sore left wrist. X-rays were negative, and he's expected to be out until at least the weekend. He said he first injured the wrist during the Nationals' series in San Francisco in mid-August.

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