National League team-by-team notebook -- Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

Arizona: INF Willie Bloomquist (back) has begun working out at the team's spring training facility in Scottsdale, Ariz. Manager Kirk Gibson said he has no timetable for Bloomquist's return. ... RH reliever Takashi Saito, who went back on the disabled list this week because of a strained left hamstring, said he considered not pitching at all this season "several times." He has missed most of the year because of calf and shoulder problems but said he continued rehabbing his way back because "I had left my family in Japan and all the people there were rooting for me. That kept me going and that was the strength."

Atlanta: RHP Tim Hudson has won six straight decisions, and the Braves have won his last eight starts. Hudson hasn't lost since July 1 versus the Nationals. "I saw him early in the Oakland A's days, and that's as good as I've seen him," Padres manager Bud Black said after Hudson stymied his team Tuesday. ... The Braves' rotation had a 4.24 ERA with four days of rest and a 3.60 ERA with five days of rest when the decision was made to go to a six-man rotation for the 13 days from Friday through Aug. 29.

Chicago: The Cubs fired longtime front-office executive Oneri Fleita, who had been a fixture on the player-development side since 1995. Last September, team chairman Tom Ricketts gave Fleita four-year contract extension, but president Theo Epstein said the move was made after a 10-month evaluation of the front office. Fleita most recently served as vice president of player personnel. ... RF David DeJesus hit two home runs -- the first two of his career at Wrigley Field. "It's official now; I got one here," he said.

Cincinnati: RHP Homer Bailey, who has had shoulder issues each of the last two seasons, goes into his start today with 141 1/3 innings this year. He has struggled in his last three starts -- 14 runs in 14 innings. "You're worried about it," manager Dusty Baker said. "But if he's feeling good maybe he's gotten over the hurdle with training and learning how to take care of his arm and warm up." ... RHP Mat Latos is 5-1 with a 1.83 ERA over his last 10 starts. He has allowed one run in 21 1/3 innings over his last three outings.

Colorado: RH reliever Mike Ekstrom was designated for assignment to make room on the roster for RHP Guillermo Moscoso, who was recalled from Class AAA Colorado Springs to start against the Brewers. The Rockies brought up Ekstrom from Colorado Springs on July 14. In 15 games, he had a 6.32 ERA. ... LH reliever Matt Reynolds pitched in a game the Rockies won on Tuesday. It was the first time since May 31 he appeared in a Rockies victory. He made 30 consecutive games in games the Rockies lost.

Houston: 1B Brett Wallace was out of the lineup a day after hitting a three-run homer as manager Brad Mills stacked it with righties against righty Justin Germano, who actually is tougher on lefties. "Going back and looking at his splits in the minor leagues, looking at his splits last year and looking at his splits this year, that was the main reason," Mills said. ... OF Fernando Martinez, who went 1-for-15 with nine strikeouts in his first stint with the Astros, is 3-for-17 with a home run and three strikeouts in his second. Not great improvement, but the Astros are hopeful that a concussion was the problem the first time around.

Los Angeles: LHP Ted Lilly (shoulder) resumed his rehab assignment on Tuesday night with a scoreless inning for high-A Rancho Cucamonga (Calif.) that included two strikeouts. Lilly, sidelined since May 24, had to cancel his Aug. 3 rehab start because of shoulder pain. ... RHP Chad Billingsley has won five consecutive starts for the first time in his career and has a 1.56 ERA during that span. Billingsley previously had won four straight starts three other times in his career, most recently May 10-26, 2010.

Miami: CF Justin Ruggiano had to leave the game in the fourth inning after straining his back. He isn't expected to play today. ... C Rob Brantly's parents, two cousins and agent all flew in for his major league debut Tuesday. "I'm excited to have them all here," Brantly said. "Oh my gosh, when I gave (my father) the call, he was hysterical. He couldn't believe it. It was a joyous moment for my family, something I'll never forget." He went 0-for-3 in his first game and didn't play Wednesday.

Milwaukee: LF Ryan Braun, bogged down in his worst slump of the season, was out of the lineup because manager Ron Roenicke wanted to give him a break. Braun had only six hits in his last 41 at-bats (.146) and had not homered since Aug. 1. ... RHP Mark Rogers was activated from paternity leave and made his scheduled start. IF Jeff Bianchi, called up from Class AAA Nashville when Rogers left the club Sunday, was sent down.

New York: The Mets will move to a six-man rotation effective immediately, manager Terry Collins said, but RHP R.A. Dickey will continue to start every fifth game while the rest of the rotation slots in around him. The move is designed in large part to give extra rest to RHP Chris Young and LHP Johan Santana, both of whom are coming off shoulder surgeries. ... C Rob Johnson was optioned to Class AAA Buffalo to clear roster space for C Kelly Shoppach, acquired from Boston on Tuesday.

Philadelphia: LHP Cliff Lee has just one win in his last six starts going into his start tonight at Milwaukee and has allowed eight home runs in his last four games. Lee is 0-1 with a 5.54 ERA in two career starts at Miller Park. ... RHP Kyle Kendrick improved to 9-2 (.818) lifetime against the Marlins when he pitched seven shutout innings against them Tuesday. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Kendrick has the highest career winning percentage against the Marlins for any major league pitcher with at least 10 career decisions against them.

Pittsburgh: RHP A.J. Burnett called a players-only meeting before the game. After the Pirates lost Tuesday to fall to 3-6 on their season-long 11-game homestand, manager Clint Hurdle said, "This is our worst patch of play during the season. We know what we're dealing with and we've got to find a way to turn it around." ... RH reliever Chad Qualls on Tuesday had his first poor outing since being acquired from the New York Yankees on July 31. He was rocked for five runs, four earned, and four hits in 1/3 of inning. Qualls had allowed just one run and two hits in five innings in his first five relief appearances with the Pirates.

St. Louis: 1B Matt Adams, who hit a couple of homers in an early season call-up to the Cardinals, won't play again this season -- he had a bone spur removed from his right elbow. Adams had 18 homers at Class AAA Memphis. ... IF Matt Carpenter drove in two runs with a pinch double Tuesday. That gave him 10 RBI this season as a pinch hitter, most by a Cardinals rookie in nearly 60 years.

San Diego: RH reliever Brad Boxberger on Tuesday gave up a home run for the second time in his last 1 2/3 innings. He didn't allow a homer in his first nine major league outings, covering 11 1/3 innings. ... LHP Clayton Richard has allowed 21 home runs this season, and left-handed batters have hit only one.

San Francisco: 1B Brandon Belt had three hits and drove in three runs Tuesday but twice was thrown out because of egregious baserunning mistakes. In one instance, he jogged after hitting a ball deep, thinking it was gone, and got thrown out at second. He also tried to go to third with no outs after hitting a double and was thrown out easily. "I don't think I've done that before. I won't do it again," he said. ... LHP Madison Bumgarner's complete game Tuesday was the second of his career. He is 8-1 at home this season.

Washington: SS Ian Desmond (torn muscle in left side) appears ready to return Friday. He originally was expected to be out until late August. ... RHP Jordan Zimmermann went 5 2/3 innings in the 6-1 loss Tuesday. It was only the second time this season Zimmermann has not gone at least six innings. "I thought Jordan threw the ball good, (but) I have seen him throw it better," manager Davey Johnson said.

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