National League team-by-team notebook -- Monday, September 10, 2012

The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

Arizona: RH reliever Brad Ziegler has gotten his last 20 outs via groundball or strikeout, with 18 on groundballs. Ziegler, who has 13 holds while emerging as the primary seventh-inning setup man, has a ratio of 12.8 groundouts for every flyout this season. His 16 double plays induced are the most among major league relievers. ... The D-backs received only one quality start on their six-game road trip. As a group, the starters gave up 24 runs in 30 2/3 innings, a 7.04 ERA.

Atlanta: SS Andrelton Simmons (broken right little finger) returned from his rehab assignment and was back in the lineup. In six games with Class AA (Pearl) Mississippi, low-A Rome (Ga.) and high-A Lynchburg (Va.), Simmons hit .320 with two doubles, two home runs and three RBI. ... RHP Ben Sheets is rehabbing his sore right shoulder and hopes to start again if needed. But there are no plans to have him rejoin the rotation as long as the other five starters are healthy.

Chicago: RHP Jason Berken, claimed off waivers from Baltimore last week, will start Saturday against the Pirates at Wrigley Field. Berken will fill the rotation spot of RHP Jeff Samardzija, who was shut down after Saturday's start because of innings pitched. ... LF Alfonso Soriano entered Monday with 94 RBI, his highest total in six years with the Cubs and the most he's had since he drove in 95 in 2006 while with Washington. Soriano's 28 home runs were his most since he hit 29 for the Cubs in 2008.

Cincinnati: RHP Nick Masset had surgery on his right shoulder Friday (the Reds didn't announce it until Monday). Masset, 30, has been on the disabled list all year rehabbing the shoulder from a spring training injury and is under contract for 2013. He is expected to be ready for spring training. ... SS Zack Cozart (strained left side) and 3B Scott Rolen (back) remained sidelined. Cozart has been out of the lineup for six games, Rolen for five.

Colorado: SS Troy Tulowitzki (left groin) returned from Class AA Tulsa, where he played nine innings Sunday in a playoff loss that ended the Drillers' season. Manager Jim Tracy said Tulowitzki would rest Monday and then would be day-to-day. ... LHP Josh Outman was recalled from Class AA Tulsa, where he went 2-5 with a 3.63 ERA in 14 games, 11 starts, after beginning the season with the Rockies and going 0-3 with a 9.00 ERA. Tracy said Outman, 27, would be used as a situational left-hander.

Houston: Owner Jim Crane said he's open to the possibility of 50-year-old Roger Clemens pitching for the Astros, but he said he wouldn't allow it when the Astros are facing a contender. The Astros' only series against a team that is definitely out of playoff contention are the two with the Cubs, this week and then the final three games of the season. Clemens said last week he doubted his chances of pitching in the majors because it took him too long to recover after his first start. ... IF/OF Jimmy Paredes has been playing second base with 2B Jose Altuve out with a lower abdominal strain. The move runs contrary to the Astros' efforts of promoting the long term. Paredes has been in the outfield for only a month, and they had been trying to develop him there for next year.

Los Angeles: LH reliever Paco Rodriguez made his major league debut Sunday, throwing three pitches to retire the only batter he faced. Rodriguez, the Dodgers' second-round draft pick this year, is the first 2012 draftee to make the major leagues. ... LF Juan Rivera is hitting just .164 (11-for-67) with a .227 on-base percentage in his last 28 games since July 31.

Miami: RF Giancarlo Stanton needed 404 at-bats to reach 33 home runs this year. Last year, he hit a career-high 34 home runs in 516 at-bats. ... RHP Ricky Nolasco has allowed one run in his last 25 innings while winning his last three starts. He lost nine of 12 decisions from early June to mid-August. "Making 32 starts a year, it's tough to be good in all of them," he said.

Milwaukee: 1B Corey Hart was out of the lineup one day after injuring his left foot while running the bases. Hart originally thought he had sprained his ankle, but he said it's a burning sensation on the bottom of the foot at the arch. ... LF Ryan Braun was back in the lineup one day after leaving the game in the sixth inning when he aggravated a lingering right wrist sprain.

New York: 3B David Wright is part of the organization's long-term plans, chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon reiterated. At a charity event in Manhattan, Wilpon called Wright "a homegrown star" and said "we'll find the right time to sit down and talk" this winter. The Mets hold a $16 million option on his contract for 2013. ... Manager Terry Collins switched around the Mets' batting practice routine in an effort to shake up a stagnant offense. Hoping to limit the time in which his starting position players sit around the clubhouse before the game, Collins asked his starters to take batting practice after the reserves and began the entire batting practice routine closer to gametime.

Philadelphia: 1B/LF Darin Ruf's contract was purchased from Class AA Reading (Pa.), where he hit .317 with 38 home runs and 104 RBI. His home run Sunday in Reading's final game was his 21st since the beginning of August. RH reliever Mike Stutes was transferred from the 15-day to the 60-day disabled list to make room on the 40-man roster for Ruf. ... LHP Cole Hamels held the Rockies to two runs on five hits in seven innings Sunday but got his third straight no-decision. Hamels, who hasn't allowed more than three earned runs in a start since July 21, a span of eight straight starts, is one win shy of tying his career high of 15, set in 2007.

Pittsburgh: RH reliever Evan Meek, two years removed from being the Pirates' representative at the All-Star Game, was designated for assignment to clear a spot on the 40-man roster for RH reliever Rick van den Hurk, who was brought up from Class AAA Indianapolis along with RH reliever Bryan Morris and IF Chase d'Arnaud. ... 2B Neil Walker (back) took batting practice on the field for the first time since being injured Aug. 27 and is expected to face RHP Jeff Karstens, who is recovering from a hip flexor injury, in a simulated game today. If Walker gets through the simulated game without incident, he is expected to be available as a pinch hitter Wednesday.

St. Louis: With RHP Jake Westbrook (strained right side) possibly lost lost for the season, a start on Thursday night in Los Angeles has opened up. But manager Mike Matheny said it won't be RHP Chris Carpenter, who threw 70 pitches in a simulated game as he continues to recover quickly from right shoulder surgery. RHPs Shelby Miller is the top candidate for Thursday, but Carpenter might start Saturday. ... C Steven Hill was called up from Class AAA Memphis. He mainly will be used as a pinch hitter.

San Diego: LHP Andrew Werner on Sunday turned in his fourth quality start in as many major league outings. The only other Padres pitchers with four straight quality starts to begin their careers were Joey Hamilton (1994) and Bob Shirley (1977). ... 3B Chase Headley's 100-RBI season is only the 18th in Padres history and the fifth since pitcher-friendly Petco Park opened in 2004. The club record is 130 by Ken Caminiti in 1996. The Padres' high during the Petco Park era is 119 by Adrian Gonzalez in 2008.

San Francisco: After being left off the playoff roster in 2010, LHP Barry Zito is pushing to be included this year should the Giants reach the postseason. "I've made my peace with that experience," Zito said of 2010. "I'm stronger for it." ... CF Angel Pagan on Sunday hit his 11th triple, one shy of the San Francisco record set by Willie Mays and matched by Steve Finley. The Giants' all-time record, dating to the New York days, was set by George Davis, who had 27 in 1893. The modern era (from 1900) record is 25 by Larry Doyle in 1911.

Washington: Manager Davey Johnson thought RHP Edwin Jackson was too deliberate Sunday in the 8-0 loss to the Marlins. "Jackson had me a little bit worried because he was taking a long time between pitches," Johnson said. "He said he was fine." Jackson lasted only 4 2/3 innings and gave up six runs. ... 3B Ryan Zimmerman and SS Ian Desmond returned to the lineup. Both were rested Sunday.

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